Billy Gauthier
2021

Billy Gauthier

Inuit Artist/Environmentalist

Sculpting stories: the art of Inuit heritage

meet billy

Born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, Billy is a self-taught artist who carves serpentine, anhydrite, ivory, antler, and bone. Exhibiting since 2007, he secured international attention in 2010 with Billy Gauthier: Visions from Labrador in Vancouver. His innovative and personal style has established him as one of the definitive Inuit artists of his generation. His interest in conservation inspired him to become a peaceful activist trying to protect his environment, including demonstrations and hunger strikes protesting the Muskrat Falls dam project and the methylmercury poisoning of Lake Melville that threatens the traditional Inuit way of life.

Sculpting stories: the art of Inuit heritage
Nominated by: Milbry Polk MED'95
Class of 2021 Location Canada

As an artist and culturalist, my work explores the beauty and traditional practices of my Inuit culture and the issues that arise in our homelands. My sculptures are often images of animals, the northern landscape, and its people. They aim to show how Inuit are not just close to the land and animals; instead, they are a part of us.

I realize that we can never go back to the way we were before “first contact.” However, I believe that reconnecting to our lands is the best medicine for my people. I want more people to explore nature, to protect our last truly wild places, and to rebuild others. With my work as a culturalist, I’ve been able to share my knowledge with people that do not have the chance to speak with an Inuk. There are many things we can teach each other to be a bridge for my people and the rest of the world.

“I believe that reconnecting to our lands is the best medicine for my people. I want more people to explore nature, to protect our last truly wild places, and to rebuild others.”

- Billy Gauthier

My work is often fanatically detailed and with fluid lines to capture the attention of the viewer so hopefully they begin to connect with the piece and gain an appreciation for the subject. I’ve always considered art an exploration of beauty and truths. I believe good art is art that inspires, art that opens our eyes to new ideas and makes us want to push ourselves a little further. I hope that my hand and chisel leave a positive mark for humanity on this tiny planet.

never stop exploring

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