This may be my favorite piece of Inuit sculpture I've owned, which is saying a lot, and I'll be very glad to keep this one for myself. It was created (and signed in syllabics) by carver and printmaker Basil Aptanik (b.1952) of Baker Lake, Nunavut Territory in Canada and I believe dates to the 1980s. Stepson of the late carver and printmaker Martha Aptanik and stepbrother of the late sculptor Paul Toolooktook, Basil Aptanik's sculptures most often represent figures from his community, and often incorporate tools carved from antler, as is the case here. He is known for his sensitive portrayals of woman with children especially, and I believe this kneeling figure is a woman, to me looking like the ultimate embodiment of a fierce protectress, keeping watch, with a terrific sense of power and also gentleness about her. I am not certain the use of the carved tool she holds, but imagine it may relate to food preparation. Beautifully carved all the way around (with such a wonderful face!), and of substantial scale with poweful presence, to my sensibilities she feels as if she holds great wisdom and life force.
7 5/8" t x 4 3/4" w x 4 5/16" d. Weighs 5 lbs 2 oz. Excellent condition, with syllabic signature carved into the underside.