At first glance, one is tempted to dismiss it as yet another mother-and-child carving. This would be a mistake on a number of fronts. On closer inspection, it is a father and child, a relatively rare subject. The stone is classic early Inukjuak stone, with widely spaced yellow bands against the green stone. The artist used the banding in the stone skillfully, with the bands appearing to wrap the child in swaddling clothes.
The piece is signed "SIMON E9-1704." The last digit of the E-number is hard to decipher, but in combination with the very clear "SIMON" the attribution is solid. When offered to me, the piece was attributed to Simon Kasudluak, but his E-number is E9-1716, too far away from the E-number on the bottom of the carving to be believed.
The carving is refined. The details of the father's face and the child's face are fully realized, and they appear to be portraits of real persons, not stereotypical faces. The father's hair is textured to contrast with the polished stone of the face and clothing. The carefully carved hands are unusual for sculptures of this era. Even more unusually, the bottom of the sculpture is carved in the round, showing the father's shins and mukluks. In sum, this is a piece that the artist carved with care, suggesting a personal connection with the subject.
Unfortunately, very few pieces by Simon POV appear in online searches. Darlene Wight's Early Masters (see below) includes one early piece by him, which was heavily influenced by James Houston's 1951 booklet with examples of possible carving subjects.
We can date the sculpture with some confidence, simply because John Houston started encouraging the Inuit to carve in 1949, and Simon POV died in 1964. The stone is very similar to Inukjuak carvings with documented dates in the early 1950s, and I think that one can say with confidence that this piece dates to the 1950s, and very probably the early 1950s. See Darlene Coward Wight, Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture 1949-1955 (Winnipeg Art Gallery 2006).
Simon POV | Father and child | c. 1955 | Alaska on Madison
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