Axangayuk Shaa

Sort by

Axangayuk ShaaTo 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.

Axangayuk ShaaHis exquisite dancing walrus has several parallels in the Cape Dorset stone carving style; they demonstrates the truly extraordinary carving bravura of the 82 year old Axangayuk Shaa, who began carving at the tender age of 17. Not only is this work exceptional in its degree of openwork carving and detail, it is also highly expressive and energetic.

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.

Browse our Axangauyk Shaa offerings here.

"A grandson of the carver Kiakshuk and the only child of artists Paunichea and Munamee Davidee, Aqjangajuk began carving at the age of seventeen. He participated in the early drawing projects of Cape Dorset but realized his strengths lay in sculpture and did not draw after 1970. Only one graphic by him, Wounded Caribou, was ever released, in the 1961 Cape Dorset annual print collection. His work was in the famous 1971-73 touring exhibition "Sculpture/Inuit. Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic". Since 1970, he has had 11 solo exhibitions, as well as appearing in many group shows, and his work is in many major museum collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York." - from "Cape Dorset Sculpture", Douglas & McIntyre, 2005

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.

Exhibitions:
1981 The Inuit Sea Goddess. Surrey Art Gallery. Vancouver, British Columbia
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