Celebrating Nunavut Day 2022: Ashevak Adla

This Nunavut Day on July 9th, we’re highlighting Cape Dorset artist Ashevak Adla (b. 1977) who is the eldest child of Kumajuk and David Adla.

On the matrilineal side of his family, his grandfather Audla Pee taught Ashevak how to carve when he was young. His wife Nurluapik Pee was also a sculptor and craftsperson. On the patrilineal side, his grandparents Kalia and Tai Adla also created drawings and sculptures.

As a youngster, Ashevak observed how Audla would carve amazing creatures from stone.  As an eleven year old, he began to work with his own tools. While the first carvings were simplistic, his first definitive sculpture was a Beluga whale.  When he decided to make a career for himself, his inspiration and knowledge of the Inuit artform stemmed from all the time spent with respected artists of his community.

He matured quickly through the teenage years and his techniques were gleaned from watching master carver Kiugak (Kiuwak) Ashoona.  His admiration for Kiugak’s human figures was based upon how detailed and realistic they appeared to be in final form. Nuna Parr was another artist whom he spent time watching while carving bears. 

Although when anyone inquires about his greatest inspiration, he always points to his children as his motivation for continuing to carve all these years.  He now has four children with his spouse Qilimiumi Ningeosiak.

In providing for his family, his focus remains on sculpting bears as he understands how appealing they are to the art market even though he will sculpt birds, human figures or transformations pieces.  His remarkable bears are, at times, either walking, sniffing or stalking as they search for food.  His dancing bears feature distinctive characteristics and poise with a highly polished finish.  During his career, Ashevak has developed a recognizable signature style that is greatly admired by both artist enthusiasts and collectors. 

His home has always been in Cape Dorset on Baffin Island, which is ideal for hunting and camping alongside family and friends especially during the Spring – his favourite time of year to be on the land. It was his grandparents Kalai and Tai who taught him hunting skills as a child. Even now, he’ll go hunting with his brother Ettula, his cousins and friends.  In 2016, he was so proud of Laisa his daughter who caught her first fish.

Internationally, Adla’s work can be found in museums and galleries and his coveted carvings are amongst the most highly sought from the Cape Dorset region.

Even with over 20 years of experience, Ashevak continues to enjoy carving and has no intention of seeking to move into any other line of work.

To view his entire collection in our Gallery, please click here.