JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)
Special Interest Videos
Private Collection, Toronto, ON
How many artworks can you think about that are about surprise? Excluding the wonderment we feel when we see something great, astonishment and awe are in short supply in art. Johnny Inukpuk’s “Girl Uncovers a Hibernating Bear” immediately startles, sending a thrill through the viewer as we imagine ourselves stumbling upon a sleeping predator. Adding to the suspense—yikes!—the bear’s eyes are open! What would we do? And more importantly, what happens next?
Inukpuk’s sculpture is akin to a movie still, a paused moment in an action film or a chase sequence. The artist has rendered his subject in great detail, outlining the strands of her plaited hair, the fringe on her coat, the creases on her skin. Her hands are larger than life, drawing attention to their surprised gesture. Inukpuk’s model for this carving is most likely his wife Mary, identifiable by her cleft lip, which is visible in this sculpture. Perhaps this was created to depict a particular episode in Mary’s life, making this sculpture somewhat of a family album, or perhaps the most exquisite response to a familiar question: “how was your day, honey?”
Good condition, no visible issues to report.
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