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Counting on carvings
Arviat artist supports family by making unique crib boards

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Members of the arts community were, once again, front and centre at the sixth annual Kivalliq Trade Show in Rankin Inlet this past week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Rankin elder Violet Twyee displays some of the detailed mini kamiik she had on display at the Kivalliq Trade Show in Rankin Inlet this past week. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

A number of regional artisans had their work on display at the curling rink and at Salon D of the Siniktarvik Hotel during the event.

The regional arts community was recognized for its contributions during the show's closing banquet.

Arviat's David Nibgoarsi took his unique form of art to the regional show.

Nibgoarsi has been carving since 1995, specializing

in crib boards made from caribou antler. The amicable artist said he was about 22 years of age when he started carving.

He said he began his career out of necessity but has grown to love producing art during the past 20 years.

"I started making earrings, and then I decided to make crib boards so I'd have different things to sell," said Nibgoarsi. "I started carving as a way to earn an income because my wife and I have children, so I had to make money to support my family and I was able to do that through carving.

"I try to carve every day of the year.

"And I like to get to as many shows like this (Kivalliq Trade Show) as I can because it's a good way to sell and promote my work."

Nibgoarsi considers himself a bit of a late bloomer.

He said he was lucky to find he has a talent for making something a lot of people like to own.

"Once I started, I really liked carving and found it relaxing and fun to do," he said. "I use mainly caribou antler to make my crib boards and other carvings. My brother, Thomas, and I are well known for our crib boards.

"Sometimes people come to my place looking to buy a crib board or a carving."

David said he makes different styles of crib boards and carvings, including birds, polar bears and dog teams.

He said it takes him a day, from morning to evening, to make one crib board.

"I try to make about 200 boards a year, but it's hard to get the antlers sometimes.

"My brother and I go out on the land to find them sometimes - newer ones are no good to use - and other times we have to buy from people.

"I like older antlers because they're easy to carve and white in colour, with no black or green in them.

"Newer antlers are brown and still have blood in them, so they're stinky."

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