9" 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: 9" across (8.5" horizontal), 7" high, 6" deep
Community: Tuktoyaktuk, North West Territories
Stone: Limestone
id: d-9991bjjjy

***Museum Piece

Note** Derrald Taylor has recently crafted a two part series of Orcas. This Mother and Calf is the third set of carvings from that series. It has been more than a year since Taylor carved a set of spectacular Orcas.

This Orca Mother and her calf are superb. The whales flow effortlessly from head to tail. The contrasting colours of black and gray charge this masterpiece with electrical energy. I love the movements of these whales. Although the Orcas are stationary, Taylor is able to conjure the feeling of motion within the piece. In addition, when the carving is bathed in light, the translucent stone of the Orcas springs to life in an explosion of colour! Taylor is wonderfully obsessed with detail. For instance, notice that the calf is pale in comparison with its mother. Taylor is correct in this depiction. The intense black skin of the Orca occurs later in adult life.

Derrald’s famed Orca pieces are in such high demand, that we cannot get enough of them. Our clients love Taylor’s sculptures especially his Orcas. Taylor has established himself at the pinnacle of Inuit art with his majestic and enchanting Orcas. I have seen many whale carvings over the years. Taylor’s Orcas stand apart. His ability to portray dynamic movement and his use of the translucent stone has elevated his Orcas to the level of Masterpieces!

His talent has earned Taylor a spot among the ranks of today’s top Master carvers such as Damien Iqualla and Ruben Komangapik. Taylor’s pieces have toured world wide and are in countless publications, Inuit art journals, exhibitions and museums.

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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