Remembering Floyd Kuptana (1964-2021)

The Scream by Floyd Kuptana
collage; 2019. Courtesy of Richard D. Mohr

Kolaj Magazine was saddened to learn that Inuit carver, painter and collagist Floyd Kuptana died on the streets of Toronto during the early hours of May 27, 2021. Richard D. Mohr, who wrote about Kuptana in Kolaj 27, writes, “His social worker with Toronto’s Street Survivors Program reports that the police say they found no evidence of violence or suspicious activity. He was often in and out of hospitals, police vans, and rehab centers. He was known to have heart problems. His life and art were as unusual and untidy as they were intense.” Of Yupik and Inupiat descent, Kuptana was born in Paulatuk, Northwest Territories, moving to Toronto in 1996. Born into a family of carvers, Kuptana was carving on his own by 1993. He added acrylic painting and collage to his repertoire in 2010 and 2012 respectively. In Kolaj 27, Mohr wrote, “He tweakingly appropriates white folks’ popular culture, their distinctive ideas (like universal surveillance–an inukshuk comes to life as a panoptic guard tower), their social forms (like gender bending–the head and legs of the Creature from the Black Lagoon bracket a one-piece bathing suit to form a gender sandwich), and their art movements.” 

This News & Notes item appears in Kolaj 33To see the complete News & Notes items, SUBSCRIBE to Kolaj Magazine or Get a Copy of the Issue.