Inuit Art Blog
The world is fighting a pandemic caused by the virus Covid 19.
For the duration of the pandemic, I am identifying the Inuit artists who are still carving during these unsettled times in a Collection called the “Covid Collection”.
You can read my explanation for this designation in the subheading “Covid Collection” located below my logo on the home page.
As I was unpacked my first admissions to this collection (seven unabashedly charming sculptures from Toonoo Sharkey) I found myself experiencing the emotions I often have when I meet a carving for the first time. They run the gamut from excitement, to delight and finally often a euphoric sense of contentment.
Even during grim times, art is a precious commodity.
This quote from Thomas Merton (a 20th century American Trappist monk and poet) sums it up for me.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”.
President and Curator,
Our studio is now accepting layaway plans.
Plans include: 30, 60, 90, 120, & 180 day payment terms with a 20% down payment.
We want our clients to have the chance to own our uniquely Canadian and exquisite Inuit carvings. It can be daunting to pay thousands of dollars in one payment for a piece you truly admire. With a layaway plan, this burden is lifted.
Our gallery is pleased to provide our layaway plan for our discerning customers. This service is free. We do not charge a service fee or interest.
With layaway, you make payments over time, but your purchase stays in the gallery until you finish the payment plan.
1. Carvings must be over $2000.00 to qualify
2. The down payment is 20% of the price (not including HST).
3. Payments can be made at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 days.
4. Interest free payments.
5. All prices are in Canadian dollars.
1. Once full payment is received, carvings will be shipped to you. Our gallery will add a $45 fee on your final payment to cover the cost of shipping.
If you cannot complete the payment plan...
1. Seldom is a client unable to fulfill the layaway plan but if this happens BOTH the deposit and all received payments are FORFEITED. (This is because the artist is given full payment for the carving once your payments begin). NO refunds will be given.
2. We do not give store credits on defaulted layaway payments. (Ie. if you default on your layaway all the received money is not refundable. We do not give store credits.
3. Credit exchanges are not permitted. ( ie. you cannot exchange the carving you have on layaway for a different carving).
We will work with the customer (within reason) to try to avoid loss of the money paid on the incomplete layaway plan. Each case will be dealt with on an individual basis but again NO refunds will be given if the layaway plan is not completed.
If you see a carving you would like to purchase on layaway, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the studio at 1 800 457 8110.
We will invoice you for the deposit and first payment and place your beautiful piece on Reserve.
When you have completed the payments of the layaway plan, you will be the proud owner of a Masterpiece Inuit carving.
We look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. (Ever notice that many of our pieces say "Reserved"? This is why).
Why do layaway plans?
Answer: When building a collection (including our own), there are three rules I make sure to follow.
1) Buy what you Love. When you see something that "makes your heart skip a beat", then do not hesitate. Don't let those fears get in the way of you taking ownership of something you truly Love. Life is simply too short for that. Instead, be bold, buy it! You will be happy you did so. Don't overthink things. It's important to get the piece that "speaks" to you. There is a spirit inside each and every carving and they will call you if it is meant to be. If there is a piece that caught your attention and you can't stop thinking about it, than that is the one. Just go with your gut.
2) Buy the best piece you can afford. Masterpiece carvings that are more expensive are always a better investment. In a short time, they will appreciate tremendously in value. Masterpiece carvings circa 1980 that were priced at $200 - $1,000 are now selling for over $5,000 - $20,000 in auctions! This is in no way an exaggeration!
If you look at it from an accounting perspective, by purchasing a higher end carving, you are actually getting it for free! I know that sounds absurd, but it is actually true! This is because your masterpiece carving will never depreciate. Instead it will appreciate. Its value will greatly increase over time, well beyond the inflation rate. By definition, this is what you would call an 'Asset'.
A strong comparable would be in the watch industry. When purchasing a timepiece, you have two choices. Your can either buy a disposable quartz watch for $100. It will tell the time and do what you need it to do in handsome fashion. However, the minute you walk out that store, your watch instantly becomes worth 10 bucks. It will last a few years before you have to buy a new one.
The second choice is to acquire a luxury Swiss made watch like a Rolex, Audemars Piguet, or Patek Phillippe. Sure, it will cost you $5,000- $20,000 up front, but unlike your cheap quartz, your beautiful timepiece will last forever, will dignify your status, look brilliant, tell time perfectly, feel good on your wrist, and most importantly, never depreciate.
Instead of it being a commodity (like the quartz), it is an asset. (generally speaking, luxury watches do not depreciate, they hold their value). What is great about this, is you get to enjoy a high end watch, and at the same time, add to the "left" side of your balance sheet.
The exact same thing applies to high end Inuit art - only it is much much more lucrative. This is because masterpiece carvings not only hold their value (like watches), but they actually appreciate over time.
When we started our gallery 11 years ago (2006), we sold many masterpiece carvings to our clients. Had we decided to hold onto them instead, we would have had actually made more money based on their appreciated values today, versus what we originally sold them for. (Sometimes nowadays, I wonder why we even sell masterpiece carvings).
In the end, we would have made a much higher profit just by hanging onto them, vs. selling them. This is the reality of Inuit Art and masterpiece carvings. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make.
3) Try to utilize layaway plans. This is exactly why we are now offering these plans. So you can have a chance to afford an exquisite masterpiece. It is often hard to pay thousands of dollars up front for a piece you really admire. Obviously with a payment plan, this burden is lifted and you hardly notice the payments.
Two years ago, we had a client who was a marine biologist for Environment Canada. She was responsible for inspecting the waters in Northern Canada. She had a great job, but like many, was on a fixed income.
During her northern travels, she was able to make a stop in Repulse Bay, NU. It was here that she met legendary master carver - Paul Maliki. Since then, it was always her dream to own one of his world famous bears. (Three years ago at the time, his bears sold for around $4,000-$5,000).
When she returned home, she found a beautiful Maliki bear on our website. It was unfortunately out of her price range. She contacted us and asked if we would allow her to make 6 payments. We accepted, and once her last payment was made, she was graced with a world class Inuit carving by one of Canada's top artists. It now serves her home in Quebec city as a centrepiece which she continues to cherish to this day.
(FYI - You cannot find a Paul Maliki bear like hers for under $7000 today. In a few years from now, his bears will be priced at $9,000 - $10,000).
Having a layaway plan will help you realize your dream of purchasing a masterpiece carving. It will allow you to acquire a masterpiece from a big name carver that normally, you would not be able to afford.
We do not charge interest, and their are no holding fees. Why? Like I said, carvings do not depreciate, so we do not mind holding onto them. Also, we freeze the currency exchange for you. No matter what the CAD, USD, EUR, CNY are doing, we will freeze that rate at the price you originally committed to us for.
Check out our masterpiece carvings here. Let us know what you think, and if you would like to have a tailored plan, we will be happy to realize your dreams in owning a masterpiece carving.
Finally, our glorious Canadian 🇨🇦 summer has arrived bringing with it THE CANADIAN WEDDING.
Almost every Canadian faced with the daunting task of selecting the perfect wedding gift has thought “I’m going to give a piece of Inuit art!”
This is a unique Canadian experience. Inuit carvings are highly prized and unique within the international art market. International travellers have become insatiably hungry for a Canadian Arctic experience. This appetite for the Inuit is reflected in the increasing interest in the acquisition of high quality Inuit carvings by art enthusiasts.
Inuit art is the perfect gift for a wedding. It is as unique as the wedding couple and will last forever. Just like the wedding couple!
The choices and price range are vast. Choose one of our coveted and iconic Manasie Akpaliapik owls or select a delightful and precious dancing bear by Markosie Papigatook or Mosesee Pootoogook.
Manasie is a Master within the Inuit Master carvers.
His owls are internationally adored and most collectors recognize them instantly. Gifting a Manasie owl (or really any of his carvings), would be on par with giving a Group of Seven painting to a special couple.
Giving Art as a wedding gift often encourages a lifelong passion for Collecting Tuk Nuna’s energetic bears are also inspirational. A gift of Nuna or Tim Pee’s bears would provide a lifetime of joy and artistic perfection.
Inuit art is energetic and spirited. Carvings are multifaceted. They can fit nicely into a traditional decorative setting or be very avante garde. Ningeocheak’s Birdman Transformation with its industrial look, would please any bridal couple who loves the Modern esthetic.
Our price range is vast. Our collection of Small Bears and Treasures under $500 are simply smaller versions of our high quality larger carvings. They are intricately carved and sophisticated and can also serve as a gift for groomsmen or bridesmaids.
Even a flower girl or ring bearer would cherish Temela Pitseolak’s Curious Owl or Donny Pitsiuluk’s Basking Seal.
This would be the gift of a lifetime which would also have significant investment potential. A group of family members or friends could give a gift if this calibre.
I am always available to my clients for help in choosing special gifts.
Enjoy your summer.
Markoosie Papigatook (1976) is one of my favourite artists for small Dancing bears.
His creatures have poise, humour and the right amount of irony.
Markoosie is from Cape Dorset. His mother and maternal grandparents were successful carvers. He started carving as a teenager and is largely self taught. His bears are easy to recognize. Each bear is a “character” with its whimsical spirit and joie de vivre.
When I have a Markoosie bear in the gallery, I place it so I can look at it and absorb its innocent joy. You can’t have a bad day when a Markoosie bear is in the room.
For one so small, these sculptures are exquisitely carved. The proportions are childlike. The body is short and a bit chubby. The head is large with round features just like a child’s body. But don’t be fooled. These dancing bears are Olympic athletes.
Markoosie overextends the upper spine and head into near impossible positions. Then he directs his charges to dance; to whirl and spin with wild abandon all the while maintaining their balance. I am mesmerized by these little bears because for a brief moment they invite us to shed our inhibitions and savour the joy of life.
Hip, modern, infectious in spirit; Markoosie Papigatook’s Dancing bears are perpetually entertaining.
At the gallery, we have seen our number of themed animal carvings, ranging from bears to loons to narwhals etc.
We rarely get a chance to see Orca whales. This is a Northern animal located mainly in the Pacific ocean off the coast of western Canada. This marine mammal is absolutely amazing.
Master carver Derrald Taylor was the first Inuit artist I saw carve one of these beautiful beasts. When he showed them to me, I knew immediately that I had to showcase them in the gallery.
The problem was, that these Orcas were so popular and in such high demand, we had to wait almost two years before he made a set for us. In 2019, this moment arrived. Taylor assembled a carving that is not just the nicest Orca that we have seen from an artist, it is one of the nicest carvings we have ever seen period.
The sublime black stone resonates with spectacular brilliance. It electrifies the entire room. Moreover, these whales look incredibly real because they are so masterfully detailed. These beautiful creatures have been sculpted to perfection.
We are proud to announce that as of April 1st, 2019, we have two sets of these beautiful carvings to offer to our clients.
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.