Inuit art: Dancing Bear
Inuit Artist: Joanie Ragee
Size: 14" high, 6" wide, 5" deep. Weight: 14 lbs
Community: Cape Dorset
Joanie Ragee is a well established carver who is internationally recognized for his dancing bears. His bears are energetic, their attitude is mercurial. As this bear shifts from foot to foot in his dancing pose, we begin to appreciate the talent required by Ragee to be able to produce this feat of “engineering”! This is what attracts Inuit art enthusiasts to his work.
Joanie’s love of the animal shines through both in his art and in his words. Rather than
carving bears in a realistic form, this artist chooses to capture the animal’s essence,
it’s “bearness” in a more streamlined configuration. Joanie’s bears always stand or “dance” on two legs, their limbs seemingly truncated or pulled close to their body.
This particular bear is formed from a vivid beautiful black marble stone. The stone is smooth and cool in its refinement which gives a mature and dramatic spirit to the bear. The brilliant effervescent black stone propels this particular dancing bear into a euphoric dimension rarely seen in other bears.
Ragee has submitted two dancing bears in this series. His alchemy and experimental use of a much denser slate of black marble stone renders one of the most beautiful dancing bears our gallery has seen from this artist.
This is a classic Joanie Ragee bear. It will bring joy to its collector and garner admiration from others!
The carving is new and signed on the bottom. It comes with the Igloo tag of authenticity.
JOANIE RAGEE (1986 - )
Date of Birth: May 2nd,1986
Place of Birth: Iqaluit
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium/Materials: serpentine, sometimes marble
Joanie began carving inukshuks (usually young artists start with inukshuks, they are the easiest to carve) at the age of 12 and has since developed an affinity towards carving animals. His favourite subject is the polar bear. Joanie’s polar bears are realistically carved, with a good sense of mass and movement.
Joanie’s father is Nowdlak Noah from Iqaluit. His biological brother is Siutiapiq Ragee, and uncles are Toonoo Sharky and Napachie Sharky (all are also famous Inuit artists).
He used to watch his father and others carve, which is how he learned, by observing them. He loves carving. He is now famous for his sculptures, especially large dancing bears. He works hard to ensure that his carvings are nice and to make his carvings realistic.
Joanie is still considered young but has talents that are as good as any seasoned professional artist. Joanie’s bears can be found in all major Inuit art galleries.
Fisher, Kyra Vladykov. Guide to Cape Dorset Artists. Cape Dorset: Municipality of Cape Dorset, 2008.