Isaac Ohotaq was born in Cape Dorset on April 24, 1957. Like many of the carvers from the Cape Dorset region, Isaac comes from a family of stone carvers. His father, Innuki Ohotagq, is also a soapstone artist.
Cape Dorset is probably the most famous art producing community in Canada’s north. With so many talented sculptors, there is bound to be a wide range of styles: however, a few generalizations can be made. The Cape Dorset sculptural style is rooted in both wildlife and the spirit world, but has incorporated a love of the flamboyant, the dramatic and the decorative. Sculptures exhibit a strongly stylized or elegant naturalism, and are generally highly finished. One senses a particular self-consciousness on the part of the artists, as well as a desire to manipulate the material to a high degree. The stones, which may range from many beautiful shades of green, almost semiprecious varieties, to white dolomite and other types as well, are often fashioned into almost impossibly thin shapes or delicately balanced works. Favorite subjects include animals and mythological creatures.
Animals play a vital role in the everyday lives of Inuit, and only in the recent past has the peoples’ dependence on them lessoned. Based on years of observing, stalking and butchering prey, Inuit wildlife art shows a keen awareness of the physical characteristics, habitats and seasonal changes of animals. Some artists display a high degree of naturalistic detail but others prefer to convey the animal’s personality, capturing the essence of an animal’s spirit.