This Polar Bear by Napachie Ashoona from Cape Dorset is a wonderful example of the quality of Napachie’s work.
Napachie Ashoona is an acclaimed carver based in Kinggait (Cape Dorset), NU. Born in Iqaluit in 1974, Ashoona is a member of one of the most prominent families of artists in Nunavut. He is the son of celebrated carver Kiugak Ashoona, OC, RCA (1933-2014) and grandson of renown printmaker Pisteolak Ashoona.
Ashoona’s carvings are made predominately with the local, dark serpentine stone, and are remarkable for their ability to capture kinetic movements of his human, animal and spiritual subjects. His oeuvre is populated by hunters brandishing harpoons in in mid-hunt; drum dancers expressively practicing their craft; mothers caring for their children; bears and other local wildlife tending to their young; and tuurngait and angakkuit figures from Inuit oral traditions in mid- transformation. His carvings are noted for the expressiveness, their fluidity and for the fine details he able to carve from the softer stone—a skill conveyed best in the faces of his human subjects.
Ashoona initially learned his craft while watching and helping his father carve, and his work shares some of the characteristics of his father’s pieces: a strong sense of movement, the selection of dark and gold-veined stone and his father’s sense of drama and narrative evident in his carvings of hunting, child-rearing and transformation scenes .
Ashoona has received significant praise for his work, and his carvings have been shown in exhibitions across Canada, in the United States and in European exhibitions in Mannheim, Germany and Paris, France.