Artist creates a 10-foot metal giant as an ode to Northern Canada trappers

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Artist Dolphus Cadieux from Enterprise, Northwest Territories, takes a break from working on his 10-foot statue of a trapper. It’s 15 years in the making. (Rachel Zelniker/CBC)
Dolphus Cadieux, a Canadian artist from the Northwest Territories, has worked for the past 15 years on a 10 feet tall statue. The giant is holding an animal trap in one hand and an eight-foot steel walking stick in the other. And he’s soon going to be greeting visitors to Enterprise which has a population of 100.

He’s a trapper, made of thousands of leg traps. And he’s artist Dolphus Cadieux’s ode to the industry that opened the Northwest Territories to the rest of the world.

“It was one of the first industries up here and it’s around still today,” he said. “I [spent] six years out on [the] trapline and that whole experience is one of the … best parts of my life.”

“It was such an adventure.”

The trapper’s foot easily dwarfs a men’s size 11 boot. (Loren McGinnis/CBC)

The statue is unfinished and Cadieux is only ready to show the world its lower half. The foot alone easily dwarfs a men’s size 11 boot. Trap chains represent the fringe on a parka. The trap’s claws make up the fur hat it wears.

Cadieux’s trapper is 15 years in the making.

He got the idea after the territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources opened a trap exchange program in an effort to phase out less humane leg traps.

As the statue evolved, so did Cadieux’s inspiration. Right now, he’s working on his favourite part — the face.

“I think what captures me in doing it is just the idea that once you have that idea and you start working toward it, you lose track of time,” he said.

“You get to a place where, you know, there’s frustration. There’s a lot of different things that happen before you complete it. But once you complete it, there’s a feeling that … I’ve accomplished something.”

Cadieux said he’s talking to community leaders right now about what to do with the statue when it’s finished.

He hopes to see it go up at Enterprise’s new visitor’s centre, once it’s built.

With files from Rachel Zelniker

Related links from around the North:

Canada: Inuit carvings head to Northern Canada after decades in California, CBC News

FinlandSámi school preserves reindeer herders’ heritage with help of internet, Cryopolitics Blog

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