Past Online Shows


Loondance Gallery,, presents a tribute to the late great Inuit artist Jutai Toonoo (6 sculptures, 20 drawings):

Jutai Toonoo’s artist’s soul drove him like a powerful engine. He was born in an igloo; growing up on the land, he learned to make pieces by watching his artist parents, Toonoo and Sheojuk. Coming of age in Cape Dorset, Jutai was influenced by the values and sources of knowledge that he found in the modern world. He worked first as a sculptor, then in an office for several years, but at the age of thirty-three Jutai returned to fervent artistic creativity for the rest of his life.

Jutai Toonoo’s unique “semi-abstract” art attempts to bridge his two cultural worlds: the traditional and the modern. Unconventional in style, his sculptures and his drawings are full of meaning and feeling. His deeply personal art rebels against social limits - it is scientifically informed, spiritually motivated and wide-ranging.

The sculptures move us by their almost monumental “partiality”: their powerfully curving forms call out for the greater meanings which they tacitly suggest. The vibrant drawings are endless in subject: the awesome arctic landscape, philosophical takes on many aspects of existence, unusual and tender portraits.

Jutai Toonoo shared a profound commitment to artistic creativity with his older sister, the great sculptress Oviloo Tunnillie (1949-2014). Jutai died suddenly, while working on yet another portrait of his wife Nina.

When I carve, I am giving part of myself. I put so much energy and passion into the carving that I am working on that I am physically and mentally drained when the carving is finished. I do not like wearing a protective mask when I’m carving, so I know that the dust I’m breathing in is killing me. Each carving that I make takes so much out of me.”

Excerpt from Cape Dorset Sculpture, 2005

Fall 2015 - Winter 2016


These nine small works sculpted in serpentine delight the eye and the heart. Albeit crafted in the tradition of early Modern Era sculpture, when Inuit stone carvings were of hand-held size, each piece in this show is remarkable for its artistic form. Excellent polishing enhances the play among the bands and tones of green color in the carvings.

The quite modest-sized Drumdancer by master carver Pudlalik Shaa, our signature piece, demonstrates qualities that one also finds in his major works. Balanced solidly on one foot, the dancing figure’s proportions, layered clothing and connecting lines communicate grace of movement.

In fact, all the sculptures in this collection have strong artistic qualities, expressed with charm, humor and sometimes drama.

Adamie Mathewsie’s trustful dancing bear seems to be embracing life’s opportunities. The bird by Tukiki Manumee has lovely, simple lines and it communicates an appealing knowingness. Its head raised and its paws firmly planted on the ground, Joannie Ragee’s bear moves forward assertively. Ningeosiak Ashoona’s calm finely carved loon turns its head towards us inquiringly.

The rounded and balanced shapes of the dancing bear by Markoosie Papigatuk give it an irresistible teddy-bear quality. The dramatic posture of Adamie Qaumagia’s rather hungry bear is underscored by its dark green color, laced with jade-like veins, and the expressiveness of its face. Quaraq Nungusuitok’s excellent carving captures a 
polar bear in a unique moment as it looks around, shifting its bulk at the same time.

Eleesusie Parr uses the natural change of color in her piece of serpentine to aesthetic advantage. A deep forest green slants across the main part of the inukshuk, like a passing cloud. Descending like a breaking wave, a lovely band of aqua-green marked with dark green accents lightens the base of this "stacked" inukshuk.


Fall 2014 - Winter 2015

The Fascinating Meanings of the Inukshuk

Long before e-mailing and long before writing on paper had come to the tundra there were the inuksuit (plural of inukshuk), eloquent “silent messengers” of the Arctic. Inuit nomads and their ancestors built inuksuit from stones, creating “a vital form of communication” which was “nuanced and complex”. 

The meaningful and durable construction of an inukshuk required ingenuity. In a treeless land, the inukshuk had a deep-reaching psychological role, serving a gamut of practical and spiritual purposes

The inuksuit that dot the landscape of the Far North have an anthropological value. Some were built as “navigational or directional aids, (or to) offer hunting information, or indicate caches of food or supplies. Some are practical ‘helpers’ that once assisted in hunting caribou or luring geese. Other stone structures (looking) like inuksuit were objects of veneration, indicating places of power or the abode of spirits.” 

The devoted researcher Norman Hallendy writes poignantly about the visual impact of inuksuit: “When moving on the land under all sorts of conditions, I regarded a looming inuksuk as I would a protective parent or a beloved teacher.” Occasionally, at a place of necessary waiting, a traveller would build an inukshuk simply as anartistic expression
. The most beautiful kind of inukshuk “is built with the greatest care, and its shape, as well as the colour or texture of the stones, causes it to stand out from all the others,” Mr. Hallendy quotes sculptor and elder Osuitok Ipellie. 

This on-line exhibition-sale presents nineteen contemporary indoor sculptures of the inukshuk, carved in several preferred northern stones by sixteen Inuit artists from across the Canadian Arctic. Inspired by the powerful role of the inukshuk in the psyche and the cultural history of the Inuit people, these original carvings of the inukshuk communicate many of its fascinating meanings: some depict its basic practical uses and others portrayshamanic beliefs, and still others captivate the viewer by their whimsicality or their artistic beauty

The quotations are from the cover and pages 27 and 44 of Inuksuit, Silent Messengers of the Arctic, by Norman Hallendy (Douglas and McIntyre). 


Summer 2015

                                                       THE FLEXIBLE POLAR BEAR

The polar bear is sometimes referred to as the “Serpent of the Far North” because of its remarkable flexibility. The polar bear can stretch its neck way out to better see or smell objects of interest. It will elongate its body when swimming or in racing forward or it will hunch its shoulders and limbs together in order to conserve energy. Displaying a delightful gracefulness, it can relax all of its muscle groups in a rough and tumble encounter with its cub twin.

How the polar bear appears to be carrying itself depends on the time of year. Before the feeding season it will become emaciated. Once well fed, its powerful, heavy form will make it lumber. The majestic polar bear's movements demonstrate fluidity and ease in all the physical postures that it assumes.

Sculptures of the polar bear often depict the typical, inward-turning placement of its front paws. The polar bear can easily raise itself on its hind legs. This capacity of the bear inspired the dancing bear motif in the rituals of the Inuit shamans, and in turn this led to the beauteous carvings of dancing bears created by Inuit artists.