Inuit Art Blog
Simply stated, Manasie Akpaliapik is Canada’s superstar Inuit carver.
He is positioned as being one of the top three premiere Master carvers of Inuit Art. He shares this distinction with Paul Maliki and Abraham Ruben.
In 2016, The National Gallery of Canada devoted the centre stage of the Inuit Pavillion to Tribute to Animals 1996, one of Manasie’s large whale bone sculptures.
This decision by the Gallery, will help you understand the servitude and significance of Manasie to Canadian art.
Manasie’s owls with inlaid eyes rimmed in black are his signature sculpture. There is no one who can out carve Manasie when it comes to owls! His bears are always enchanting and sought after by collectors of Inuit art. He is a champion of the relationship between animals and humans.
I have had the honour of knowing Manasie and selling his carvings for twelve years. He has an innate ability to be fresh and innovative. I confess, there have been moments when Manasie has presented me with a new carving and I have actually gasped. That is the power of his mastery.
Manasie’s commissions and exhibitions are prestigious (AGO, WAG, National Gallery of Canada) within Canada and internationally. His carvings are Masterpieces, both literally and figuratively.
Figuratively, Manasie’s Masterpieces will soothe your collector’s soul and bring you joy for a lifetime.
Quite literally, Manasie’s Masterpiece sculptures are considered investment pieces. They will handsomely increase in value over the next ten years.
It is my great pleasure (in my position as Curator of Inuit Sculptures and in my role as friend to Manasie) to exhibit Manasie Akpaliapik’s extraordinary and brilliant Inuit carvings.
Christmas... late night arrivals, doors thrown open, open arms, kisses, voices, laughter at everything and nothing at all.
Christmas, set apart by its mystery, mood and magic. The season seems in a way to stand outside time.
All that is dear, that is lasting, renews its hold on us.... and we are home again at
( inspired by Home For Christmas Eliz Bowen 1899-1973)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to our cherished clients who share our passion for the Inuit and their art. It has been our pleasure to present these incredible pieces to you this past year.
Come and join us to see our beautiful Holiday Season collection.
Featured Carver - Paul Bruneau
This month the Gallery is featuring acclaimed artist Paul Bruneau and his exquisite Inukshuks.
Paul was fortunate to meet celebrated Inuit artist Idris Moss-Davis during his childhood and together they formed a lasting friendship. Idris mentored Paul in carving techniques and the pair began carving together. Paul was inspired by Idris Moss-Davis’ talent and credits Idris for teaching him to carve exquisite sculptures.
Paul’s Inukshuks are unmatched in the Inuit world. The are wild alien characters fashioned from opulent deeply coloured marble, stacked together in near impossible angles. These carvings are beautiful, refined and definitely cosmopolitan. Paul’s Inukshuks can only be described as “divine”.
We currently have a small number of his Inukshuks in the Gallery. We are one of the few galleries honoured with his work. The serpentine stone is multicoloured and so unusual that one finds oneself mesmerized by the stone. Paul’s talent for animating each Inukshuk creates a sculpture that will never be paralleled.
To view some of his beautiful inukshuks, click here.
At inuistculptures.com, we always wanted a way to showcase artists who we greatly admire, however are either no longer carving, or extremely hard to get.
We decided to present a unique collection of Inuit Master Carvers whose sculptures are now RARE treasures called "Bittersweet Farewells".
These Master Carvers were distinguished by their exemplary contribution to the Inuit art community. Sadly, these artists are either retired or they have passed on. These Masterpiece creations are some of the few pieces still available in the world and are tremendously difficult to obtain.
These carvings would be the crown jewels in any Inuit art collection. They are the perfect reflection of artistic joy and the true Canadian spirit of the Inuit!
Any one of these special carvings should be considered an investment since they will appreciate tremendously in monetary value over the next few years.
Knowing how to display your Inuit art is just as important as the art itself. So many of our clients acquire incredibly beautiful pieces from our gallery, and I am always curious to know where and how it is displayed in their home.
Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to see examples of beautiful displays from our very own clients.
** If you have one of our exquisite pieces that is beautifully displayed, please show us and we will post it on this blog. Send us a pic at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would Love to see it!
The number one most crucial thing is deciding where to place your piece. Pairing your pieces together in groupings are a common theme in Inuit art. When doing this, it is crucial to pair each carving in such a way where they do not blend in with one another. An example would be to pair a darker piece with a lighter one.
Another important criteria in choosing your space, is making sure your piece will be viewed in an open airy space. A venue with high ceilings is highly desired. In doing so, this enhances the artworks synergy with its natural habitat. Having it in a closed confined space does not allow the carving to breathe.
Lighting is also an incredibly important factor. This is not always possible. If their is an option to do this, than proper lighting onto the carving will greatly enhance its colors, glitter, sparkle and reflection. Serpentine stone is especially known to really flourish under a spot light. The desired lighting are track lights that will beam onto the carving.
The other key factor is light placement. You want the glow of the lighting to hover around the carving. You do not want it to be to close and create an overly harsh reflection of light.
Recessed lighting is a great way to do this. If this is not an option, a work lamp with an arm extension works very well too.
Work lamps can be inexpensive and will really make the brilliant coloration in the serpentine stone "pop". They are especially good for smaller / medium sized carvings. To maximize the presence of a smaller piece, a work lamp with an arm extension placed over the piece will make it a central attraction for any room.
In particular, when smaller in size, we at the gallery really admire apple green carvings. There is no artist that performs better owls in these striking apple green stone than Pitseolak Qimirpik. When put under a light, his vivid colored green and brown owls become incredibly electric!
If you are looking to make a small investment in an exquisite piece of art, Pitseolak Qimirpik owls are some of the best pieces to own in any Inuit art collection.
Here are some additional examples below of how and where to place your Inuit Art.
Displays from our clients:
Dundas, Ontario Canada
George Arlook meets Nuna Parr's rare print
Tim Pee bear feeling right at home.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Manasie Akapliapiks Owl in good company with a Scottish Fold.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Pat Ekpakohak's enchanting Lovebirds in a nook corner
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
Pit's Owl about to order Chinese takeout with his whale friends
His carvings tell stories about Inuit culture and a time when people lived in camps, hunted to feed their families and used dog teams to travel. Lukie's work is often multi-dimensional, with fine details at every angle and direction.
His wife, Marie, is a craft artist and respected seamstress. Lukie's youngest brother, Bart Hanna, is also a well-known Igloolik carver.
He will be greatly missed.
His last remaining works can be found here.
Here's a behind the scenes look at what goes into creating a stone carving from start to finish. The video below shows Artist, George Arlook's process.
Video by: Greg Loew, Winnipeg, MB.
For our clients who wish to purchase one of George Arlook's beautiful transformations, please contact us ans we will show you.
Fifteen years ago, I was a young man full of intrigue and adventure. I had a yearning to travel the world and see new things. After completing my Bachelors degree in Commerce, I decided to follow my dream and embark on an adventure very few people get to experience - trekking off to one of Canada's last frontiers - The Canadian North.
Venturing off to the far North is not an easy task for any individual. One must go there with a purpose. Mine was to become a professional pilot. To this day, I am not exactly sure what came first, having the aspirations to fly professionally, or my craving to explore the North. Either or - both desires have allowed me to experience the thrill of a lifetime! I was elated and romanticized by the lifestyle of a bush pilot. The choice became a synonymous and ubiquitous one at that as my path was crystal clear.
Complimentary to my business and piloting skill sets, I exhibited a spirit for entrepreneurialism. Moreover, I was very creative and had a strong passion for the arts. In my soul – I am an artist. I compose music, I love to create, and am keenly aware of beautiful things all around me. Vice versa - as a child, I loved Monopoly, and was always fascinated with business. Combining these two elements ignited one of the greatest concepts to ever hit the Inuit art industry - "inuitsculptures.com"
- A place where passionate minded people can appreciate, acquire and admire beautiful pieces of Inuit art throughout the entire world without any geographical limitations.
By introducing Inuit art to an an online arena, inuitsculptures.com has been at the very forefront of bringing this rare and exquisite art medium to the 21st century. Before us, there has never been a venue like this before. This simple concept has done amazingly well and since its creation in 2006. Going forward, we continue to experience tremendous growth year over year. We have evolved from a small Ebay store to what is now arguably the largest Inuit art gallery in the world.
With the online gallery now in full stride, we are able to provide Inuit art on a consistent basis for the entire world to enjoy.
How it All Started
After completing my pilot license, I was able to find work with this Northern outfit based out of Kuujjuaq, QC called Air Inuit. From there, I branched out to another company, Air Labrador, and found myself on the Twin Otter. Moving to the North and experiencing it the way I did was so much more than I could have imagined. The adventure of going in and out of these small communities, landing on short strips through senseless winds, impenetrable fog, and howling blizzards gave me the pilotage skills that will last forever.
The experience of becoming a bush pilot, allowed me to live in the Canadian North for 5-6 years. Experiencing a new culture like the Inuit was an eye-opening experience.
What was so fascinating about them was how they did not worry about unequivocal things (like pot holes, taxes, politics etc...). They let time pass, and enjoyed the simple things.
Because of my time up there, I now have a deep connection with the Inuit.
I do not pity them, sympathies for them or take them lightly in terms of patronizing them. I treat them as equals, as my business associates, as my friends. And in the end, we are able to hammer out deals where everyone is a winner.
From my times in the North, I have learnt a great deal about this intriguingly ambiguous society. I have learnt that the Inuit are incredible hunters. Proficient fisherman. They are brave individuals filled with a spirit inside that resembles humility and humbleness. They are a respectful society and govern themselves on simple laws based on common sense. They are a highly resourceful society and know how to fix things well (if something breaks up north, like a pipe, only you can fix it. There is no plumber to call on). They are ingenuousness, and a have strong sense for community.
One day as I was loading the Twin Otter, and I came across some boxes that said "Inuit art - Museum of Toronto". Right there and then, a lightbulb went off in my head and a concept was born - to provide Inuit art online. I called my wife (Natalia) that evening and told her of this simple idea. She Loved it!
So with the little savings that I had, I decided to buy a few carvings from the locals in Sanikiluak. Among them was the famous Jimmy Iqaluq who I met for the first time. I randomly knocked on his door, and a humble wise and somewhat shy man came to the door. He did not know any english. We were able to communicate in sign language. It was here that I discovered for the first time, his world famous loons. My eyes popped out of my head. I could not believe how refined and exquisite they were.
I acquired one and to this day I continue to have it. It was Jimmy's precious loons that gave the needed niche for our gallery. They were greatly admired by collectors and were an instant hit in our gallery. The many sales of his loons gave our gallery the boost it needed to grow and expand. Today, our logo is his loon. This will never change.
Coupled with my wife's (Natalia) uncanny computer skills, and my artistic ability, we were able to create an amazing website for the world to enjoy. We wanted something that would be fast, simple to use, easy to search with and find things and most of all, something that would be focused on buying Inuit art with no nonsense. Many of our clients say how much they appreciate the online gallery. We have hundreds of clients who visit our New Arrivals section on a daily basis just to see what new pieces we received.
Today, we serve over five thousand clients in over 32 countries around the world. my wife (Natalia) and I have turned what was once a modest collection of Inuit art, into a mainstream, global enterprise. We now have three beautiful children and hopefully one day, they will continue our legacy.
The gallery will be holding an exhibition in honour of the late Jutai Toonoo.
His drawings and prints had an international presence on par with other master print makers like Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitseolak.
The gallery received some of his last works available and will be putting them on display. One of his master works - "Happy, 2013" was recently acquired by the gallery. It is one of his best works to date.
This is an original drawing created by Jutai Toonoo in 2013. (This a not a limited edition print, it is an original oil on paper drawing, only one was made by Jutai).
The coloration, subject matter, and texture of this drawing has resonated itself into a lasting image of memory. I made the assertion that these two drawings must be hung in our studio immediately.
This image exemplifies both Toonoos’s sense of being and the demons he struggled with on an everyday basis.
Jutai was born in an igloo on a cold December morning in 1959 just outside Cape Dorset. He recalls the traditional way of life of his family and learned by watching his father go about the daily tasks that enable the family to survive. He and his sister, renowned sculptor, Oviloo Tunnillie, learned about stone carving by watching their father. Jutai did his first carvings when he was seven years old.
By 1982, carving was his major source of income. One day he calculated his income and realized that he was making too little as a carver and decided to work in an office instead. Eventually he realized that sitting at a desk all day was not a life for him. In 1992 he resumed carving. In 1995 he also took his first jewellery and metalwork course and discovered a new artistic discipline.
Information courtesy of Nunavut Arctic College 1996.
Jutai Toonoo (1959 - 2015 )
Community: Cape Dorset
Jutai was an illustrator, printmaker and sculptor.
Jutai was born in an igloo on December 05,1959 just outside Cape Dorset.
Jutai Toonoo is a son of Inuit artists Sheojuk and Toonoo. He, along with his siblings—renowned sculptors Oviloo Tunnillie and Samonie Toonoo - learned to carve at a young age from his father and began his artistic career in the 1990s, beginning with sculpting and moving towards drawing and printmaking. Jutai became known for a bold art style that was representative of his emotional process. His works are dark and humorous, often focusing on religious themes or the social issues that concerned him within his community.
Collections: National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, McMichael Collection
To understand the servitude and influence legendary Axangayuk Shaa has on the world of Inuit art, one must first go back to when the industry came to prominence back in the 1960's. What was first a small settlement of a few hundred hunters and families - (at the time called Kingait), has since flourished into one of the most prominent regions for Inuit art.
Axangayuk Shaa is was one of those pioneering master carvers. He shares acclaids with the likes of other master artists like Nuna Parr, Jimmy Iqaluq, Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitseolak. Remarkably, at 82 years old, he is still carving today and is the master carver who is a living legend. His status revolves around his grandesque, large scale dancing walruses. They are truly remarkable pieces and have toured around the world in countless exhibitions.
Never has there been an artist quite like Axangayuk Shaa who continuously releases gorgeous pieces of art... and my heart literally skips a beat every single time.
His walruses are world famous because of their strong sense of dynamics, motion and beautiful proportions. “He captures the spirit and vigorous movement for a total effect…concentrating on special interaction, expressive qualities and overall form…his carvings are compact, robust, solid…with outward dynamic forms…”
The man is a living legend that puts him on the level of all other great carvers of centuries past. His ability to capture the essence and raw beauty of the mammal is greatly enhanced with his choices of brilliant colored stones. This renders his walrus into carvings that set apart from all other artists.
Currently, He lives in Cape Dorset, Baffin Island with his wife, Kilabuk Shaa, who is also a carver. Three of their sons, Pudalik, Qiatsuq and Qavavau Shaa are also carvers in Cape Dorset.
Axangayuk Shaa was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 2003. Academicians are elected to membership of the RCA on the basis of their significant body of work that has been recognized by their peers in the discipline of their choice for its excellence and innovation. Candidates are nominated and brought forward by seven RCA members in good standing for review by the Membership Committee, which is a multi-discipline body representing all regions of Canada.
1981 Cape Dorset Sculptors and Their Sculpture. The Inuit Art Collector. Mr. & Mrs. James F. Bacon. Manchester, Connecticut. USA
1981 The Jacqui and Morris Shumiatcher Collection
1980 Four Sculptors from Baffin Island. Upstairs Gallery. Winnipeg, Manitoba
1980 Waddington's Inuit Auction. Waddington Galleries. Toronto, Ontario
1980 1980 Canadian Eskimo Art: Carvings, Cape Dorset Prints with sculptures by Axangayu. Franz Bader Gallery. Washington, D.C. USA
1980 The Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art from the Art Gallery of Ontario. University of Guelph. Guelph, Ontario
1980 First Annual Collectors' Invitational Exhibition. Eskimo Art. San Fransico, California
1980 Collector's Choice. Waddington Galleries. Toronto, Ontario
1980 Cape Dorset. Winnipeg Art Gallery. Winnipeg, Manitoba
1979 Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterwork Exhibitors of the Canadian Arctic. Inuit Gallery of Vancouver. Vancouver, British Columbia
1979 Exhibition and Sale of Musk-Oxen & Bears. Cottage Craft Gifts & Fine Arts Ltd. Calgary, Alberta
1979 Die Kunst der Arktis. Villa Waldrich, Siegen, Germany. Inuit Galerie. Mannheim, West Germany
1977-1982 The Inuit Print. National Museum of Man, and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Ottawa, Ontario
1977 Kaka and Axangayuk. Gallery Shop. London Public Library. London, Ontario
1975 Cape Dorset/Selected Sculpture from the Collection of W.A.G.. Winnipeg Art Gallery. Winnipeg, Manitoba.
1974 Eskimo Art. Queens Museum. Flushing, New York, USA
1974 Eskimo Stone Sculpture, featuring Azangayuk, Johnniebo, Kenojuak. Arctic Circle. Los Angeles, California. USA
1974 Inuit Sculpture 1974. Lippel Gallery. Montreal, Quebec
1974 Cape Dorset Sculpture. Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec. Montreal, Quebec
1972 Eskimo Fantastic Art. Gallery 111, School of Art. University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, Manitoba.
1971-1973 Sculpture/Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic. Canadian Eskimo Arts Council. Ottawa, Ontario
1971 The Art of the Eskimo, Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
1970 Mythology in Stone. Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec. Montreal, Quebec
1969 Eskimo Sculpture '69. Robertson Galleries. Ottawa, Ontario
1967 Eskimo Sculpture. Winnipeg Art Gallery presented at the Manitoba Legislative Building. Winnipeg, Manitoba
1966 Major Eskimo Sculpture- Cape Dorset, Isaacs Gallery. Toronto, Ontario
1961 Cape Dorset Graphics