Drawing inspiration from an intimate relationship with the animals of the Canadian Arctic, Inuit carvers immortalize them in stone.
Approximately 19 x 4 x 8 cm
Stone carving, serpentinite
In the early 1970s, Ottokie Ashoona and his family moved to Cape Dorset, where he now lives. He comes from a family of world-renowned Inuit artists: his late father Kaka and his uncle Kiawak were prominent Cape Dorset sculptors; his grandmother, Pitseolak Ashoona, was famous for her drawings and prints.
Ottokie learned to carve at a young age. His step-brother and well-known sculptor, Ohito Ashoona, has greatly influenced Ottokie's artistic development and expression. Often they will carve together, and many similarities can be seen in their carving styles.
Like many Inuit artists, Ottokie draws his inspiration from arctic wildlife. His favourite subject matter is the polar bear, and he often portrays them swimming, crouching, sitting, sleeping, and on the prowl. His ability to capture the movement and vitality of the animal is remarkable. He also carves other animals as well as spirits and Sednas.
Ottokie’s style is highly representative of Cape Dorset art. It is rooted in a love of naturalism, but has incorporated an affinity for decorative stylization and dramatic expression. Ottokie takes great care in choosing the stone. Many of his carvings are made of the finest Serpentinite of varying green shades, smoothed and highly polished to best exhibit the beauty of the stone.