Kangiqsujuaq means "the large bay" in Inuktitut. It is on the southeastern shore of Wakeham Bay near the Hudson Strait. Kangiqsujuaq is also called Wakeham Bay which is named after the explorer who navigated the Hudson Strait in 1897. The village is 2100 km north of Montreal and has a population of nearly 840.
Kangiqsujuaq is known for its beautiful landscape with soil rich in minerals. The area has been mined sporadically since the 1950s. Today, copper and nickel are being mined by the Société minière Raglan du Québec.
A trading post was established at Kangiqsujuaq by Révillon Frères in 1910. By 1928 the Hudson's Bay Company established its own trading post and fox farm in the area. Between 1936 and 1963, a Catholic mission, a school, a nursing station and an Anglican church were founded.
The Wakeham Bay Cooperative Association was incorporated in 1970 and joined the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec in 1971.
The density of the stone in Kangiqsujuaq has made the sculptors adopt a more simplistic and streamlined style or carving. They will use mostly a hard variations of grey steatite and sometimes dark black serpentine.
Kangiqsujuaq is only 15km away from Qikertaaluk Island and Qajartalik, where petroglyph masks dating back to the late Dorset period, about 1200 years ago, have been found. These petroglyphs have influenced the carving style of present day artists of the region to some extent.
Notable artists (past and present) include:
- Jobie Arnaituq (1948-)
- Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk (1931-2007)
- Johnny Pilurtuut (1928-1995)