Tom Duquette was born in northern Ontario in 1940. He studied classical drawing, painting and sculpture at the Central Technical Institute in Toronto, Ontario and then proceeded to improve his knowledge and understanding by traveling to various indigenous art centers in the far north, southwest and pacific coastal areas of North America.
During these travels, the artist absorbed a variety of techniques and influences, which he gradually synthesized into his own personal art form, combining the most ancient and the most modern principles of North American art. To this was added the direct influence of wild creatures and the natural forces experienced during Tom’s long stays in remote wilderness areas. These combinations have produced an art that is firmly rooted in tradition and yet enlivened in ways that only real life inspirations can produce.
Tom continues to express himself artistically, as he has for over 40 years, using wood, stone, bronze, precious metals and stones as well as paint and canvas. He has had the distinction of being featured in National Geographic magazine for his jade carvings, high praise for any artist.
In October of 2001 Tom was bestowed the name “Ghaiaanook” by Chief Frank Baker. The name means “great carver”. For a non-native artist, there can be no higher honor. In June 2003, a retrospective of Tom’s work going back to the 1970′s was exhibited at the ArtSpring center on Salt Spring Island. The show included paintings, sculpture, wood and whalebone carvings, model canoe replicas and much more. Almost all of the works were on loan from private collectors for the two-week exhibit.