10" Mother and Calf Orca (Killer) Whales by Master Derrald Taylor

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Derrald Taylor

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Inuit Art: Mother & Calf Orca (Killer) Whales
Artist: Derrald Taylor
Dimensions: 10" across (8" horizontal), 7" high, 4" deep, 4 lbs
Community: Tuktoyaktuk, North West Territories
Stone: Limestone
id: d-99445cjjjy


***Museum Piece

Note** This is the second set of Orcas in a two part series Derrald Taylor recently crafted. The last spectacular Orcas I saw Taylor do was more than a year ago.

This is our absolute favourite piece in the gallery.

When subjected to light, the translucent stone’s ghostly echo springs to life in an explosion of magnificent colour.

This Orca whale effortlessly flows from head to tail. The contrasting colours of lime green and grey charge this masterpiece with electrical energy. I love the movements of these whales as it is so intense and lifelike.

Taylor has earned himself a spot among the ranks of today’s top master carvers like Damien Iqualla and Ruben Komangapik. His sense of motion, dynamics and movement are exceptional and are a testament to the talents these master carvers must possess.

Taylor’s pieces have toured world wide and are in countless publications, Inuit art journals, exhibitions and museums.

The dynamic movement and translucent colouration of these whales is a formidable combination and is the reason this piece is exceptional. Even though I have seen several whale carvings over the years, Taylor has made this carving his own. Very unique, very modernist with a touch of minimalism. The posture, facial expression and the stone makes this iconic North West sea creature the Masterpiece it deserves to be. 

Derrald Taylor

Taylor has stated a preference for working with harder varieties of stone, such as serpentine or chlorite because it allows for a greater degree of detail in the pieces. Additionally he has worked with muskox horn, whalebone and marble. When beginning a sculpture Taylor’s method is to accentuate the natural shape of the stone and economize on material use [3]. Earlier in his career Taylor carved subjects such as animals, drum dancers and hunters, or things that he saw in his daily life. In the past he stated that he felt hesitant about carving Sedna and other Inuit oral traditions because he felt he lacked the understanding to represent those stories, but he has recently started to carve them [4].

Taylor has been a regular exhibitor at the Great Northern Arts Festival since 1998. He also participated in other arts festivals across Canada and the United States. Taylor’s practice is based out of Frozen Rock Studio in Yellowknife, NT. Recently the studio began a public workshop to teach visitors about carving techniques and the indigenous traditions of the region [5].


2002: The carving Our Elder's Ways (n.d.) was chosen as the featured piece on posters for the Great Northern Arts Festival.


1. “Echo Hanoche: Painter, Illustrator, Jeweller,” Nunatsiavut: Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage, accessed February 14, 2018. http://www.michnunatsiavut.org/echo-henoche.html. 
[2] Nathalie Helberg-Harrison, “Bobby’s Legacy,” Tusaayaksat, Spring 2016: 53. 
[3] Kate McCarthy, “Interview with Derrald Taylor (Tuktoyaktuk),” by phone, IAF offices to Yellowknife, February 8th, 2000. 
[4] McCarthy, “Interview,” 2000. 
[5] Kirsten Murphy, "Yellowknife stone-carving studio to offer public workshops", CBC News, last updated January 16, 2018, http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/north/yellowknife-stone-carving-studio



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