Ahqahizu: An Inuit Sculpture Finds a Home on the Keele Campus

Posted by Sam on May 19, 2016

Goings-On around York | The Vari Reel

A young woman interviewing a man in a painter's coat with a bronze walrus head in front of them.
Sculptor Ruben Komangapik standing behind the bronze walrus head of his and Kuzy Curley’s sculpture, Ahqahizu. Interviewing him is my blogging colleague Garima, from whom you’ll hear shortly.


As part of Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage, a multi-media, multi-platform research-creation collaboration aimed at re-engaging Indigenous Canadian voices in visual art and performance, York is currently hosting sculptors Ruben Komangapik and Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley as they work around the clock to bring to the York campus Ahqahizu, a granite sculpture depicting the Inuit legend of spirits in the northern lights playing soccer, with a walrus skull (pictured above) for a ball.


Expected to be officially unveiled in June, the sculpture is now in its final stages of construction, according to Komangapik. For those interested in catching an early glimpse, however, on most days both Komangapik and Curley can be found openly working just behind the York Lions Stadium, and they will gladly talk to you too.


Granite sculpture of what appears to be an Aboriginal man playing soccer
Work in progress: photos truly can’t do the sculpture justice.


The stories they have to tell are fascinating — and you can read more right here on the YUBlog in the next week or two, when we will feature an in-depth interview with Ruben Komangapik, detailing such topics as the heritage of the statue, its significance in Inuit culture, the actual pronunciation of Ahqahizu, Komangapik’s background and training as a sculptor and artist and, of course, a lot more photos.


For the time being, though, I strongly encourage you to go see the sculpture for yourself. The fact that the artists began with more than 60,000 lbs of granite stone at which they whittled away with diamond blades to create Ahqahizu makes the piece that much more incredible. Also, if you are generally interested in Indigenous culture, or are simply looking to have a good time, be sure to check out the North American Indigenous Cultural Festival happening this weekend at Downsview Park. Awards, delicious food and all sorts of entertainment — you really have no excuse not to go. . . . York’s own CASS (Centre for Aboriginal Student Services) will be in attendance, and they would surely love to see you.


Tweet us about your experience at @YorkUStudents!




Sam recently graduated with an Honours BA in Communications.

See other posts by Sam

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