First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art

May 28, 2019

LOT 64

Lot 64

JESSIE OONARK, O.C., R.C.A. (1906-1985)

JESSIE OONARK, O.C., R.C.A. (1906-1985)
Lot 64 Details
JESSIE OONARK, O.C., R.C.A. (1906-1985), E2-384, Baker Lake / Qamani’tuaq


coloured pencil drawing
signed in syllabics, c. 1976
14.5 x 9.5 in — 38.1 x 24.1 cm

Estimate $1,500-$2,500

Realised: $1,560
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report


a Toronto private collection


As mentioned in the discussion of Lot 17, we sometimes have to speculate about Oonark’s portrayal of Christian iconography. This drawing almost surely depicts Mary Magdalene and Jesus, but since it seems to show him twice we need to sort out the precise meaning. (It should be noted that the illustration of multiple episodes of a story is a common feature of Baker Lake narrative drawings.) That Jesus is depicted at the time of his burial (which Mary Magdalene witnessed) seems clear. The second depiction is more puzzling; it may represent the moment of Jesus’s resurrection (unseen by Mary), or perhaps it illustrates the slightly later Noli Mi Tangere (Touch Me Not) scene. It’s a charming and very moving work.

References: for related Christian imagery by Oonark see Darlene Coward Wight, Creation and Transformation (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2012) cat. 76 (Giver of Life); see also Jean Blodgett and Marie Bouchard, Jessie Oonark: A Retrospective (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1986) p. 45 (The Last Supper).

First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 64

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.