Inuit Art

December 0409, 2021
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LOT 94

Lot 94

KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)

KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)
Lot 94 Details
KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014), Kinngait (Cape Dorset)


signed in syllabics, disc number inscribed, circa 1965
10 x 20 x 8 in — 25.4 x 53.3 x 20.3 cm

Estimate $3,000-$5,000

Realised: $16,980
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)
  • KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)
  • KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)
  • KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)
  • KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)

Paul Duval, Toronto, ON;
Estate of Neil Kernaghan, Toronto, ON;
Waddington's, Toronto, ON, Nov 2013, Lot 88;
Private Collection, British Columbia


Kiawak Ashoona was perhaps at the height of his creative powers when he carved this bear. The body, only subtly abstracted, perfectly captures the massive volume of these creatures. Ashoona preferred to begin his pieces by first carving the heads of his figures, which often resulted in the intense and refined facial expressions so strongly exemplified here.[1.] The figure is set off by individually-carved ivory lower incisors, and by Ashoona’s masterful use of differing bands of colour which are naturally found in the stone from which he sometimes carved.

Unsurprisingly, this sculpture caught the attention of George Swinton when he chose to document it in his superlative 1972 publication Sculpture of the Eskimo. Also unsurprisingly— with its sensitive use of colour and evocation of the natural world, its first documented owner was Paul Duval, the seminal Canadian art critic and longtime friend and early champion of the Group of Seven Painter Lawren Harris.


Swinton, George. Sculpture of the Eskimo. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd. 1972. p. 185, pl. 453


Katilvik. “Kiawak Ashoona”, accessed October 31, 2021,


Condition very good.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 94

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.