Abraham Anghik Ruben

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Abraham was born in 1951 in a camp south of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories and east of the Mackenzie River Delta. This region is home to the Mackenzie Inuit or Inuvialuit. The late 1890s would see the arrival of large- scale commercial whaling fleets into the region soon followed by an influx of Inuit from Alaska.

Abraham’s quest to reconnect with his past found artistic form in 1971 when he attended the Native Arts Centre at the University of Alaska studying under Ronald Senungetuk. Throughout the 1970s Abraham pursued a career as an artist working in the varied media of sculpture, jewelry, prints and drawings. He would soon catch the attention of art dealers across Canada including Jack Pollock who showed his sculptures at his gallery in Toronto in a series of solo exhibitions.

In 1986 Abraham moved to Salt Spring Island where he continues to live and work with his wife Patricia Donnelly and their children. Since that time, Abraham’s interests in exploring the stories, myths and legends of his ancestors have found artistic form in a multitude of works, which have been exhibited and collected internationally. His quest has also led in recent years to the exploration of other cultures and people who inhabited the Northern hemisphere. In his last solo exhibition, curated by Darlene Coward Wight at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2001, Abraham stated that:

I have always tried to learn from others, either Inuit or other elderly people who can pass on their knowledge of what life is about. I try to put that into my sculpture.


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