Johnny Papikatuk (Papigatuk)

Cape Dorset - Kinngait

The community of Cape Dorset boasts more famous artists per capita than any other region in Canada. Johnny Papikatuk was born into a family with a rich artistic tradition. His late Grandfather was the famous, Kububuwa Tunnillie and his uncle is well-known, contemporary carver, Ashevak Tunnillie. His mother, Komajuk Tunnillie, and grandmother, Tayara Tunnillie, are also carvers. Nicotye Samayualie, his sister, concentrates on drawing the details of northern life.

Though his style has been influenced by both his uncle Ashevak and his brother, Markoosie Papigatok, his work is evolving into an individualistic style with good line and a wonderful sense of whimsy. Largely self-taught, the artist prefers to work with hand tools and on a smaller scale.

Johnny creates a variety of subject matter including figurative works and scenes of camp life. Often these works have exquisite detail. However, the artist especially likes to depict arctic wildlife in his work.

The marble of this particular Dancing Bear was quarried on Baffin Island, not far from the artist home in Cape Dorset. Although a hard stone, in skilled hands marble offers the opportunity to achieve flowing forms, lines bold and delicate, as well as glistening, elegant finishes.