Barnabus Arnasungaaq is perhaps the best known and most sought after of the Kivalliq artists. Human figures and animals are his typical subject matter, and this intriguing human/bird transformation is not common for him to depict. The artist hasshown the gure standing on sturdy feet while his arms have changed into bird’swings. The details of the gure and thewings seem to emerge as if the artist were only uncovering the forms from the stone.This is a result of the hard and difficult basalt which takes neither fine detail nor polish. It is however a very commanding work in which the shaman with the wings of a bird appears to be formidable.
The Kivalliq region is on the west side of Hudson’s Bay and encompasses Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), Arviat and Rankin Inlet all of which developed strong artist communities. The distinct regional style, very different from the Baffin Region, is immediately apparent. The local stone is basalt, a dark hard stone which is both difficult to carve and impossible to polish. The artists in these areas therefore developed a minimal style, defining form more by outline and silhouette rather than fine detail. Artists in coastal settlements who had little local stone, such as Coral Harbour, worked with ivory, antler and whalebone.