8" Jet Black Dancing Bear by Joanie Ragee
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Inuit art: Dancing Bear
Inuit Artist: Joanie Ragee
Size: 8" high, 6" wide, 56 deep, 6 lbs
Community: Cape Dorset, NU
Stone: Black marble
The fantastic movements and rich black stone make this a monumental piece. The bear is at a 15 degree arching back stance with ample flow and fluidity.
Joanie Ragee is a very well established artist and is recognized internationally for his dancing bears. His dancing bears are full of life and movement which is what attracts Inuit art enthusiasts to his works.
Joanie's love of the animal shines through, both in his art and his words. Rather than carving realistic replicas of bears, this artist chooses to capture the animal's essence, its bearlike character, in a more streamlined form. Joanie’s bears almost always stand or 'dance' on two legs, their limbs seemingly truncated or pulled close to the body.
This piece in particular is done in a vivid beautiful black marble stone. The look and feel of it is very mature and dramatic. This is a classic Joanie Ragee bear as it is full of movement and life. The texture is smooth and refined.
JOANIE RAGEE (1986 - )
Date of Birth: May 2nd, 1986
Place of Birth: Iqaluit
Residence: Cape Dorset, NU
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.