The Other World: Spirits, Demons, and Visions of Transformation

March 1217, 2022
Auction begins to close at 2:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 11

Lot 11


Lot 11 Details
JOSIAH NUILAALIK (1928-2005), Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake)


stone, antler
signed in syllabics, circa 1990
7.5 x 10.25 x 3.25 in — 19.1 x 26 x 8.3 cm

Estimate $4,000-$6,000

Realised: $5,040
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
  • JOSIAH NUILAALIK (1928-2005)
  • JOSIAH NUILAALIK (1928-2005)
  • JOSIAH NUILAALIK (1928-2005)
  • JOSIAH NUILAALIK (1928-2005)
  • 3D Image

Born into a family of recognized artists, Josiah Nuilaalik, son of Jessie Oonark, created an important and highly distinctive body of work late in his life. [1] Nuilaalik’s sculptures explore images of the spirit world and of transformation. While to our eye, far from naturalistic in their anatomy, his figures often convey their weight and a sense of stilled movement with an exceptional clarity.

Although Nuilaalik is sometimes quoted as having said that he had not encountered the spirit images which he represented, this admission has been qualified by Harold Seidelman, once a patron of Nuilaalik’s, and author of The Inuit Imagination: Arctic Myth and Sculpture. Seidelman explains that Nuilaalik was very clear when asked where his images came from. In one instance Seidelman queried if an image of a serpent with a man’s head carved by Nuilaalik was a Biblical reference, “No!” replied Nuilaalik “This is real!”. [2]

In this exceptional sculpture Transforming Animal Nuilaalik gives a troubling form to a hulking creature with the face of a man and a body that seems simultaneously both caribou and bear.


1. McMaster, Gerald, Inuit Modern, The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection, Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2011. p. 37.

2. Seidelman, Harold, personal correspondence with the author February 17, 2022.


Fine line present on surface, possible discrete repair. Overall very good condition.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 11

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.