Inuit art: Eskimo
Size: 13" tall, 6" wide, Weight: 7 lbs
Community: Cape Dorset, NU
Inuit Artist: Samonie Toonoo
This piece depicts Samonie Toonoo’s younger nephew who is engaged in the act of relieving himself. Samonie often depicted spirits escaping from and entering the bodies of his figures. Perhaps “Little Brother” is a literal depiction of this necessary ebb and flow from the human body. Samonie’s sculpture also commemorates his family and his childhood in the small community of Cape Dorset, NU.
Although this is not a typical subject for Inuit artists, the artistic world has explored this topic for centuries. The art of Rembrandt, Paul Gauguin, Picasso and Klee characterizes the act as a balance of bodily function with natural innocence.
The most renowned depiction of this topic is the Belgian sculpture “Manneken Pis”. This fifteenth century small bronze depicts a little boy relieving himself into a fountain’s basin. Some legends credit this young boy with heroism for putting out fires threatening Brussels and the King’s castle.
Salmonie’s “Little Brother” is an inspired assemblage of form and line, harmonious and sophisticated.
At first sight, this unique portrayal of Inuit life had me bewitched. Although this carving is dated 2016, it could easily be a first generation piece. First generation or modern avant garde? The beholder must decide. This sculpture will hold its disposition for eternity. It is truly unparallelled and Timeless!
Such is the magic of Samonie Toonoo. The raw spirit of this sculpture still has me mesmerized.
Samonie Toonoo (1969 - )
Community: Cape Dorset
Samonie is a son of the graphic artist Sheojuk and the carver Toonoo, and the younger brother of sculptors Oviloo Tunnillie and Jutai Toonoo. Samonie began carving in his early twenties, making realistic depictions of wildlife and figurative subjects; now, he tends towards expressing social issues or images that give sculptural shape to more abstract concepts that we all think about but rarely visualize.*
* Cape Dorset Sculpture, 2005.
2001 Small Sculptures by Great Artists, Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON
2001 Baffin Island Sculpture, The Albers Gallery of Inuit Art, San Francisco, CA
2000 Small Sculptures by Great Artists, Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON
1998 Sculpture from the Canadian Arctic, Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON
1997 Singing & Dancing & Playing, Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON
1979 Die Kuinst aud der Arktis, Inuit Galerie, Mannheim, Germany
Our Land Transforming:Celebrating the Enduring Spirit of the Inuit, Arctic Raven Gallery, Friday Harbour, WA