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Pootoogook was born in Kingait (Cape Dorset) and began carving at an early age after watching his father, Lukta. He studied as a printmaker for eight years at the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op and graduated from the Arctic College Jewellery and Metalwork program. Ancient masks are among his favourite projects, because of their genuine reflections of Inuit people and culture—he enjoys using the traditional facial tattoos as motifs in his work. Pootoogook is currently studying gold smithing at the Arctic College and lives in Iqaluit with his wife and children.