Kangirsuk, a community of over 560 people and located 2000 km north of Montreal, is on the north shore of the Payne River near the Ungava Bay. Also known as Payne Bay, Kangirsuk means "the bay" in Inuktitut.
There are numerous lakes and rivers around Kangirsuk, and the strong tides of the Payne River draw anglers from all over.
Révillon Frères, a French fur trading company, set up a trading post near the present-day community of Kangirsuk in 1921. The Hudson Bay Company also set up a trading post in 1925. In 1959, a school was opened and as Inuit settled in, social, health and housing services followed in the 1960s.
The Payne Bay Cooperative Association was incorporated in 1961 and was one of the five founding members of the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec.
Kangirsuk sculptors have a rustic, simple and spontaneous style that displays their knowledge and imagination. They rely less on technical ability and more on the overall charm found in the sculptures' quick and rough depictions. Small details were often etched onto the surface of the stone.
Notable artists (past and present) include:
- Johnny Airo (1927-)
- Marcus Kudluk (1949-)
- Thomassie Kudluk (1910-1989)
- Sammy Nassak (1905-1988)