Vince Sharpe is known for many things in the Beaufort Delta, but the former Councillor’s art collection is one of his better kept secrets.
However, following a few visits to the Inuvik Regional Hospital, Sharpe decided to offer up one of his sculptures as a thank you to the staff of the Acute Care Ward. The carving was unveiled Sept. 9.
“I had it sitting in my house for a few years,” he said. “It’s such a beautiful carving, I got to thinking that nobody but the people that come to my house get to appreciate it, so that bothered me a bit.
“I wanted people to see it and appreciate the work that Eli does. So after a number of visits to the hospital, I decided to see if the hospital wanted to have a carving. All the care I’ve received from the doctors, nurses and everyone here. I wanted to show my appreciation.”
Chief operating officer Arlene Jorgensen said Sharpe invited her to his home earlier in the year to pick out a sculpture. Her eyes quickly settled on the piece titled “Traditional Man and Dancing Woman,” which Sharpe commissioned from renowned Tuktoyaktuk carver Eli Nasogaluak Sr.
She noted it didn’t take much convincing to pick out the art piece.
“I don’t know if you’ve been to Vince’s house, but it really is like a mini-art gallery,” she said. “Every room has carvings, every room has paintings, there’s a polar bear rug. It’s amazing.
“One of the first carvings I saw was the most amazing one. Vince said to me, it’s your choice, but this is the one I hope you pick.”
In addition to the carving, Sharpe also donated the display case and a painting to be displayed along with it.
Sharpe said he had been commissioning Nasogaluak Sr. for carvings for years, starting with the carving he made for the Midnight Sun Complex some eight years ago, but that was only the beginning. The two collaborated on the design for the donated sculpture. Sharpe said Nasogaluak Sr. wanted to put a snake in the carving, but Sharpe insisted there were no snakes in the north.
The sculpture is on display in the lobby of the hospital.