Inuit art: Polar Bear
Inuit Artist: Paul Malliki
Size: 24" long, 13" high, 10" wide, 70.6 lbs
Community: Repulse Bay, NU
Stone: Marble (sparkly snow white)
Igloo Tag license number: #15 - Inuit Gifts
** This item is Eligible for Layaway Plan
Note** This is one of the nicest bears I have ever seen Paul Maliki do. It is ambitiously larger. Would be well suited for a conference room or the central foyer of a home. Paul Maliki has lost much of his eyesight in the last several years. Therefore, like Lucassie Ikkidluak, he will only produce 2 or 3 carvings per year. He needs help rotating and manoeuvring the stone from other family members.
An art curator has the privilege of seeing many memorable and inspiring pieces of art. I have had the honour of having in my gallery many outstanding sculptures. They include Paul Maliki's bear head, Goota Ashoona's Migration boat, a Nuna Parr bear, the "Jimmy's" by Toonoo Sharky, a magnificent loon by Jimmy Iqaluq and one of Lucassie Ikkidluak's latest muskox.
Believe me then when I say, this is a very special carving. When I saw it for the first time, I felt like my heart had skipped a beat! In that moment, I knew I was being given an extraordinary and rare gift. I expect that a Paul Malliki sculpture will impress me (they always do) BUT I was not prepared for my reaction to this creature.
Even now, I struggle to find the right words to describe this spectacular sculpture.
1. “Paul” is a masterpiece that could easily find his way into a museum. Malliki’s singular talent is his skill in transforming a real bear into stone. That means that “Paul” is the perfect replica of a real polar bear.
There isn’t a single detail that isn’t perfect. If you have never had the privilege of seeing a Malliki bear in person, look closely. He carves every hair individually. The claws, the teeth, the eyes ....... not a flaw.
To achieve such realism is not only beyond the skills of other Inuit artists, it is beyond any other artist in the world!
2. “Paul’s” size makes him hard to ignore. Everything about him is generous and grand.This piece exudes majesty and nobility. After all, the polar bear is the Ambassador of the Arctic and the largest of all the Arctic mammals.
Because “Paul” is large, his majesty is more majestic. His nobility is more regal. These oversized qualities are what stopped my heart beating.
3. The proportions must be perfect. An ear placed a millimetre too low or a paw slightly too large and the piece is good but never great.
“Paul” is flawless in his proportions. Malliki actually takes detailed measurements of an expired bear and uses them to create an exact replica like “Paul”. . It takes over 6 months for Paul Maliki to complete an epic piece like this. Add 30 years of carving experience and a rare, rare talent and the result is this extraordinary polar bear!”Paul” is a celebrity. He will garner attention and admiration.
He is a serious addition to your art collection and is one of the greatest Inuit carvings you will ever see or own.
4. This bear is an undeniable investment piece. He is a blue chip investment. Like Lucassie’s muskox or Nuna Parr’s bears, your return on this sculpture could easily increase to six figures over time. (See our blog on Investing in Inuit art).Malliki’s Masterpiece is simply put, a treasure. A RARE treasure. “Paul” is signed on the bottom by the artist and comes with the Igloo Tag of Authenticity.
Paul Malliki (1956-)
Paul Malliki has had many prestigious commissions, including presentation gifts to Prime Ministers Brian Mulrony and Jean Chrétien, and to the Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. In 2000, he was also commissioned to produce a carving of a ptarmigan for the Official Symbols Project for the Legislative building in Iqaluit, and in 1999, he was 1 of 6 artists who made the Nunavut Mace.
Paul Malliki is known as the absolute premier Inuit and Canadian artist today and is insurmountably famous for his masterpiece realistic bears. He was born in 1956 in an outpost camp near the community of Igloolik. When he was ten, his family moved to Naujaat to be with his grandmother. Paul still lives there with his wife and 7 children.
Paul carved his first piece when he was 5 years old. He learned by himself and by watching other people. “Mostly from myself. I’ve learned most things by hunting. By seeing what’s around me. When I hunt animals, I study them. All the animals that are around us.”
“People always want my work. My father would be away for days hunting, trapping foxes. If I didn’t go with him I would carve to support the family, if I wasn’t out hunting myself, in the dead of winter”
Paul carves many different kinds of animals and faces, but has most fun with caribous. His work can be found in many private and public collections and is in demand at galleries across North America. He was invited to participate in the sculpting symposium- Stories in Stone, and has been repeatedly invited to attend the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Associations annual Arts Festival.
When he is not carving, Paul enjoys working with his dog team, hunting, and building. “Just about everything. I like my life.”
PROUDLY CANADIAN SINCE 2008