Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok was born in 1934 at Nunaalaaq [Nunalla] in Manitoba, a trading post on the west coast of Hudson Bay, just south of what is now the Nunavut border. After the death of her father she went to live with her grandparents, moving between Nunaalaaq, Churchill and surrounding areas. Her grandfather worked for the trading posts in both communities hauling supplies by dog team or canoe. Lucy often accompanied him on these trips and cited sumatarjuaq as one of the greatest influences on her life and her work as an artist,
Lucy began to carve stone and on occasion caribou antler in the early 1960’s, shortly after her marriage and move from Kangiqlliniq [Rankin Inlet] to Aqviat [Arviat/Eskimo Point] the same year. Early carvings of arctic animals were quickly replaced by her interest in figurative work. The themes of mother and child, family and community, imbued with personal meaning, are the primary focus of her sculpture.
She cited this shift in interest as occurring largely due to childhood memories of her grandfather. A gifted storyteller, Isumatarjuaq’s stories were often illustrated by a drawn shape in the sand with stones placed along the edges. This visual image echoes Lucy’s style: multiple-faces or heads, often defined by flat planes and a distinct, simple use of line; seemingly small on the horizon of the single, solid stone mass from which they are carved.
Intrigued by the ‘imagination’ in the shape of the stone rather than direct representation she maintained a very distinct artistic voice within a community known for its abstracted forms and minimal aesthetic. In major collections in Canada and the United States, her work is in the collection of the National Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Inuit Cultural Institute in Kangiqlliniq.
Lucy sadly passed away in April 2012, however she lives on through the amazing sculptures that she created.