JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976) PUVIRNITUQ (POVUNGNITUK)
Mother With Child in Her Amautiq, c. 1965
stone and ivory, 5.5 x 3 x 2 in (14 x 7.6 x 5.1 cm)
Estimate: $2,500 — $3,500
Private Collection, Ottawa.
This utterly charming depiction of a woman and her child is one of Joe Talirunili’s most expressive examples. The mother’s large eyes and broad grin are particularly appealing. And the baby… no, could it be?! Talirunili’s obsession with owls is well known; is it possible that this woman is packing an owl-child in her hood? That would explain her mischievous smile… Interestingly, the woman’s amautiq exhibits decorative beadwork very similar to that of the early Inukjuak Standing Woman in this collection (see Lot 2).
References: For comparable carvings of women by the artist see Marybelle Myers ed., Joe Talirunili: “a grace beyond the reach of art” (Montreal: FCNQ, 1977), p. 29. The book also illustrates a drawing (p. 53) and a print (p. 66) by Talirunili that depict women whose amautiit display similar beaded decorations (not to mention fifteen owl carvings).