Note that this work is being sold by an authorized dealer of Inuit artwork and is not being purchased directly from the original artist.
Artist: Toonoo Sharky
Dimensions (in inches): 18. 1/4 (H) x 12.5 (W)
Price: $12, 500.00
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Date of Birth: June 5, 1970
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium/Materials: Carving – stone, serpentine,
Toonoo Sharky is one of the most significant artists to emerge from the Canadian Arctic. His father was sculptor Josephee Sharky and two of his younger brothers, Alasua and Napachie are also artists. Toonoo made his first carving when he was only 10 years old. Although he is a self-taught artist, Toonoo learned much by watching his grandfather, well-known carver Qupapik Ragee. Toonoo has said: “[My grandfather] never talked about it, I just watched – It is the traditional way”. Toonoo also credits artists Shorty Killiktee and Kiawak Ashoona as having the greatest influence on his work. Toonoo’s work is informed by both the past and the present. (CCCA). Thematically he favors birds, fish and transformations. In his transformation pieces, the ‘shaman’ or ‘human’ element, frequently represented by a mask-like face, often appears to be in a state of flux between the natural world and the unknown world of spirits. The primary spirit helper or spirit animal tends to be a strong falcon-like bird or owl. Sharky’s technique of inlaying eyes with antler or ivory creates the dramatic gaze of his fantastic creatures. He achieves dynamic surface tension through angular composition, careful piercings, and the use of a variety of materials. He seems to have an instinctive understanding of the strengths and limitations of his carving materials.
The materials Toonoo uses are the two local Cape Dorset stones, serpentine and marble. Regarding his approach to sculpting Toonoo has said: “When I’m starting on a piece of stone, I like to slowly work on the piece until the shape starts forming into a shape I can recognize. Sometimes I just go by the shape of the stone”. Toonoo’s sculpture has been included in group exhibitions since the late 1980’s and his first solo exhibition was held in 1992 at the Inuit Galerie in Mannheim, Germany. His work is included in the Canada Council Art Bank as well as in countless international private, corporate and public art collections. In 2002, Toonoo was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
[su_spoiler title=”Artist’s Exhibitions, Collections, Achievements and Events” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus” anchor=”” class=””]
(Note: Current only to 2012)
- May – June 1987, [Inuit Art Exhibition], Whitby Arts Incorporated, The Station Gallery, Whitby, Ontario
- February 1989, Arctic Images: Major Sculptures by Canada’s, Leading Contemporary Eskimo (Inuit) Artists at D/Erlien Fine Art Limited presented by Orca Aart, Chicago Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
- May 1989 Birds: Sculpture from Cape Dorset & Rock Ptarmigan Limited Edition Print by Kananginak The Guild Shop Toronto, Ontario
- August 1989 Art Inuit, la Sculpture des Esquimaux du Canada Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau,Douai at Chapelle de la Visitation Thonon, France
- October – Dec 1989 Baffin Images Orca Aart Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
- January 1990 Art Inuit, la Sculpture des Esquimaux du Canada Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau,Douai at Centre d’Action Culturelle du Bassin Houllier, Lorrain, Saint Avold, France
- March 1990 Art Inuit, l’Art des Esquimaux du Canada Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau Douai at Maison Falleur, Cambrai, France
- April 1990 Art Inuit Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Palais de l’Europe Le Touquet, France
- June – July 1990 Small Sculptures from across the Canadian Arctic Feheley Fine Arts Toronto, Ontario
- December 1990 New Miniature Sculpture Gallery Phillip Don Mills, Ontario
- February 1991 Animals of the Arctic, Arctic Inuit Art, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.,
- April – May 1991 Inuit Master Carvers, Snow Goose Associates, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
- November – Dec 1991 Second Generation Cape Dorset Carvers, Albers Gallery, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
- January – March 1992 Images of Influence: Contemporary, Inuit Art, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, British Columbia
- February – August 1992 Inuit Art on the Mezzanine: New Acquisitions Winnipeg Art Gallery Winnipeg, Manitoba
- April – May 1992 Two Young Carvers from Cape Dorset: Toonoo Sharky and Qiatsuq Shaa The Isaacs/Innuit Gallery Toronto, Ontario
- October – Nov 1992 Arctic Ice: Sculptures in Marble by the Artists of Cape Dorset, Northwest Territories Marion Scott Gallery Vancouver, British Columbia (illustrated catalogue)
- November – Dec 1992 Inuit Sculpture–New Acquisitions Pucker Gallery Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. November – Dec 1992 Sculpture Inuit Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec Montreal, Quebec
- March – April 1993 The Theme of Transformation in Inuit Sculpture The Isaacs/Innuit Gallery Toronto, Ontario
- June – July 1993 The Next Generation–Inuit Sculpture Gallery Indigena Stratford, Ontario
- October – Nov 1993 Sculpture and Graphics from Cape Dorset Art Space Gallery Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
- November – Dec 1993 Sculpture Inuit et Retrospective Pudlo Pudlat Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec Montreal, Quebec
- November – Dec 1993 The Treasured Monument Marion Scott Gallery Vancouver, British Columbia
- November – Dec 1993 Inuit Sculpture Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec Montreal, Quebec
- January 1994 Shamans and Transformations Albers Gallery San Francisco, California
- October 1994 Sculpture of the Inuit: Major Works by the Masters of Stone Maslak McLeod Canadian Art Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.
- November – Dec 1994 Small Sculpture by Great Artists: The Younger Generation Feheley Fine Arts Toronto, Ontario
- April – June 1995 The Birds of Cape Dorset: A collection of sculpture by 32 Cape Dorset Carvers Albers Gallery San Francisco, California, U.S.A. (illustrated brochure)
- May – September 1995 Keeping Our Stories Alive: An Exhibition of the Art and Crafts from Dene and Inuit of Canada Institute of American Indian Arts Museum Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A (illustrated catalogue)
- July 1995 Sunakutagnuvalautut: Things from the Past Feheley Fine Art Toronto, Ontario
- October – Dec 1995 The Next Generation Orca Aart Gallery Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. (illustrated brochure)
- November – Dec 1995 Miniaturen Inuit Galerie Mannheim, Germany
- March – April 1996 Major/Minor Marion Scott Gallery Vancouver, British Columbia
- 1997 Transitions: Contemporary Canadian and Inuit Art curated by Barry Ace and July Papatsie organized by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. Gatineau, Quebec Presented at the Canadian Cultural Centre Paris, France
- 1997 Itineraire Inuit: Rencontrer un people a travers son art UNESCO Paris, France.
- 1999 Inuit Art at the Museum curated by Raymond Brousseau Musee d’Art Inuit Brousseau Vieux-Quebec, Quebec
- 1999-2000 Carving and Identity: Inuit Sculpture from the Permanent Collection curated by Mary Routledge National Gallery of Canada Ottawa, Ontario
- November 2001 Small Sculptures by Great Artists Feheley Fine Arts Toronto, Ontario
- April 2002 Kingait Currents: Leading Sculptors of Cape Dorset Inuit Gallery of Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia
- 2002 Inuit: When Words Take Shape Museum d”Histoire Naturelle de Lyon Lyon, France
- October 2003 Modern Inuit: Toonoo Sharky and Napachie Sharky Inuit Gallery of Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia
- June 2004 Sanaasimasiatok (Fine Works) Feheley Fine Arts Toronto, Ontario
- May-June 2005 Cape Dorset Sculpture Spirit Wrestler Gallery Vancouver, British Columbia
- 2006 Inuit Sculpture Now curated by Christine Lalonde National Gallery of Canada Ottawa, Ontario
- 2006-2007 In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun: Sami an d Inuit Art 2000-2005 Curated by Jean Blodgett Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton Ontario
- February 2011 Reflets Arctiques Art Inuit Paris Paris, France
- January – February 1992 Toonoo Sharky Inuit Galerie Mannheim, Germany (illustrated catalogue)
- February 2010 Toonoo Sharky: Sculptures Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia
- November 2011 Toonoo Sharky: Transformation Canadian Arctic Gallery, Basel, Switzerland.
- Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British
- Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Honours, Achievements and Events:
- 1991 Attended Qatuujiqatgit Sanaguatit-Contemporary
Carving/Sculpting Session organized by the Inuit Artists’ College at the Ottawa School of Art in April/May
- 1994 Won first prize for sculpture at International Festival of Craft Arts, in
Coral Gables, Florida.
- 1995 Won first prize again at the International Festival of Craft Arts, in
Coral Gables, Florida.
- 2002 Elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in
[su_spoiler title=”Sources” open=”no” style=”default” icon=”plus” anchor=”” class=””]
- Above biography compiled by Nunavut Development Corporation, 2012
- Canadian Arctic Gallery. Canadian Arctic Gallery. 2011. Web. 15 May 2012.
- Feheley Fine Arts. Feheley Fine Arts. n.d. Web. 15 May 2012.
- Inuit Gallery of Vancouver. Inuit Gallery of Vancouver. n.d. Web. 15 May 2012.
- Lewin, Michelle. “Toonoo Sharky: Pushing the Boundaries”. Inuit Art Quarterly. Vol. 19. No. 3. Fall 2004. 96. Print.
- “Toonoo Sharky”. Indigenous Arts Network. Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts. n.d. Web. 15 May 2012.
- “Toonoo Sharky”. Inuit Art Alive. Inuit Art Foundation. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
- “Toonoo Sharky”. Inuit Art Biography System. 1995. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
- “Toonoo Sharky.” Cape Dorset. Municipality of Cape Dorset. 2003. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.
- “Toonoo Sharkey”. The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art: The Canadian Art Database.
- The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
- Institute of American Indian Arts Museum. KEEPING OUR STORIES
ALIVE: An Exhibition of Art and Crafts from Dene and Inuit of
Canada. Santa Fe, N.M.: Institute of American Native Arts Museum,
- Marion Scott Gallery. ARCTIC ICE: SCULPTURES IN MARBLE BY THE
ARTISTS OF CAPE DORSET, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES. Vancouver:
Marion Scott Gallery, 1992.
Marion Scott Gallery.THE TREASURED MONUMENT: An Exhibition of
Small-scale Inuit Sculpture. Vancouver: Marion Scott Gallery, 1993.
- Mitchell, Marybelle. SEVEN ARTISTS IN OTTAWA. Inuit Art Quarterly, 6(3)
1 in stock