Manasie Akpaliapik was born in 1955 in a hunting camp near Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Nunavut, on north Baffin Island. He spent his youth in Arctic Bay and was raised in a family of artists. His father and mother, Lazaroosee and Nakyuraq Akpaliapik are both sculptors in the community of Arctic Bay. His adopted grandparents, artists Peter and Elisapee Kanangnaq Ahlooloo, and his maternal great aunt Paniluk Qamanirq began to teach him to carve when he was about ten years old. He learned to carve by watching them and, as they carved, the elders would entertain Manasie with Inuit legends and stores.
Now based in Ottawa and Montreal, Manasie is known for his animated and ambitious sculptures that skillfully utilize the unique material and structure of bone, ivory and stone. Deeply connected to the culture and traditions of the Arctic, his works reflect a concern for the vulnerability of his homeland. They offer unflinching depictions of social difficulties that have impacted northern communities and reflect the belief that humans must live in balance with and respect all living things.