Coral Dancing Bear

by Ohito Ashoona
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Surrounded by a stark landscape, the Inuit draw inspiration from their intimate relationship with the indigenous animals of the Canadian Arctic. The work often reflects the enduring theme of transformation, represented regularly in the personification of dancing animals.

Alabaster stone
3.5" x 1" x 1"

Ohito Ashoona (1952 -  ) is the son of artists Mayureak and Qaqaq Ashoona. At the early age of 12, he began carving and apprenticed with his father and his uncle, Kiawak Ashoona. His grandmother, Piseolak Ashoona, was a gifted artist in her own right. Ohito is deeply connected to his surroundings having spent his formative years living in an outpost camp. There, he experienced the traditional Inuit lifestyle in every sense - very different than living in a settlement or community.  He subsisted entirely off the land through fishing and hunting walrus, whales, caribou and seals. His portrayals are upbeat and creative, despite the harsh existence in the Arctic. Ohito's work has been described as powerful, dynamic and energetic and yet there is great tenderness in his sculpture. In 2002, he won the Canadian National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the Visual Arts category.  This very prestigious award is open to all Inuit and First Nations peoples in Canada.