Inuit art: Scenting Bear
Inuit Artist: Bill Nasogaluak
Size: 20" long, 9" high, 6" wide. Weight: 27 lbs
Community: Yellowknife, NWT
The last "great" bear to enter our gallery was a walking bear by Ashevak Adla. Since then, nothing struck my tempo up until now. In all its glory, the definition of perfection is this walking bear here. Not a single flaw, vein, incursion throughout the stone.
Some of the greatest works of Inuit sculpture defy analysis. And sometimes the adjectives actually seem to contradict one another. How can a sculpture have a commanding presence and yet also be genuinely winsome? How can a work be quirkily naive and yet highly refined? How can a sculpture be truly monumental and yet oh so caressable? This masterpiece has all of these qualities and probably a few more besides.
The complexity of its refined finish is streamlined to a higher order not often seen in most carvings. The curvatures and atomicity of its lines are breathtaking. The eyes, facial features and posture of this bear are heavenly.
The velvety smooth finish allow this masterpiece to transcend into an almost heavenly body where it wants to float away.
This piece is so spectacular, I had a hard time getting proper photos for it. Every angle was so spectacular, I just couldn't decide which ones to use.
Bill Nasogaluak (1953 - )
Bill was born in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Bill said that his art was influenced by Michelangelo: “He could paint, and he could carve; awesome” (Nasogaluak in Mitchell 1996). As a child, he was painting, carving, and participating in art contests. Since 1992 he is carving full time. Bill was in a 1993 group show in San Francisco with his cousins Abraham Anghik Ruben and Joe Nasogaluak.
Bill Nasogaluak’s started as a graphic artist, but in recent years he has focussed mostly on carving.
In 2007, Bill Nasogaluak created inukshuk sculptures on behalf of the Government of Canada for public spaces in Guatemala City, and Monterrey, Mexico. He also co-designed the Territorial Mace of the Northwest Territories, which was unveiled in 2000. In 1994, one of Bill's creations was given to Prime Minister Jean Chretien by the Government of the Northwest Territories.