Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ashevek Tunnillie

The Finnish sculpture got me thinking about
arctic peoples closer to home
(although Baffin Island isn't all that close)

So I've been browsing the web for Inuit sculpture
... and, so far, Ashevek Tunnillie is the one who gives me pleasure

As you may guessed by now -- he specializes in bears.

I don't know whether polar bears still visit Cape Dorset,
quite possibly one can get much closer to them at my local zoo
( they're one of my favorite animals to see there--
since the Lincoln Park Zoo offers an underwater viewing window)

They're so sleek and powerful --
just like these little sculptures.

And as you see with these multiple views --
Ashevek is composing these pieces all-the-way-around

..and he does pretty well with human figures as well --
compelling characterization --
and delicious design---
what more could we want ?

Here he is (born 1956) -- in his native habitat
(or maybe not -- his pieces are in galleries around the world --
he could probably afford to live anywhere he wanted --
and if I were him -- I'd spend at least part of the year

Whether anthropologists would consider his pieces authentic -- I don't care

As the internet shows,
the market for Eskimo sculpture is a large one...
even the best pieces sell for under $8,000,
and most of it is unredeemable drek,
clumsy, awful things that look far worse than
the original chunks of stone from which they were cut.

But I'd say that Ashevek is a great sculptor.

Here's a good piece by his cousin, Oviloo (what a name!),
and it looks like several generations of Tunnillies were
carving stone in the 20th C.


Blogger Robert said...

Yes, I really like the first bear, he is great.

April 18, 2007  

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