Inuit Owl Sculpture
Axangayu (Aqjangajuk) Shaa, Canadian Inuit
Donated by: Canadian Arctic Producers LTD
Owls and other animals hold great significance in Inuit cultures; despite its abstract qualities, note how the artist portrays the animals’ beak, talon and wings in this sculpture.
This abstract, stylized owl crafted from white stone and modeled in the folk art style was created by Inuit artist Axangayu (Aqjangajuk) Shaa (B. 1937- D. 2019), who began carving stone at age seventeen. He is from the Nunavut Territory in Canada, the largest and northernmost populated primarily by the indigenous Inuit people, who inhabit the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, the U.S., and Russia.
He participated in the Cape Dorset drawing projects, in which printmaking was introduced to encourage cultural production of carving and crafts and promote Inuit art. Shaa felt his strengths were more in sculpture and made no more drawings after 1960. Many of his sculptures, like the one above, feature expressive, dynamic depictions of bears, walruses, and birds
His work is in many major museum collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.