March 14 – April 3
Samonie Toonoo’s work continues to challenge established paradigms for Inuit sculptural work in the contemporary art world. His persistence to question and provoke the viewer about their insights and interpretation of modern Arctic and post-colonial life will trouble some and provide impetus to others to explore these realities further. This collection of work, examines these concepts and the tangents Samonie pursues to achieve them.
Of the works contained in this collection, several emerge as powerful and poignant. Up and Down, originally part of Scream with Ed Pien in 2010 at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, pushes the comforts of decision making and choosing your own direction knowing the Western theological outcomes. These reflected figures present a clear visual understanding of the belief system introduced to Inuit and how the messages were perceived to be wielded. Alcoholic is a distinctly different influence. The hollow and disconnected face emerging from the can of beer elicits the different personality alcohol causes as well as the outcome of the consumer and drunkenness becoming one and the same. Lastly, the Drummer. The emanating words and sounds have no discernable meaning or story and the static and slumping pose suggest the performer has forgotten the song and dance taught to him and passed down for generations – furthering thoughts of identity loss and importance in the surrounding community.
Born in 1969, Samonie is part of a significant art family in Cape Dorset; being the son of the renowned graphic artist Sheojuk and carver Toonoo, he’s also the younger brother of Jutai Toonoo and Ovilloo Tunnillie. Over the last 25 years as an artist, Samonie has evolved from realistic depictions of wildlife and figurative forms into this collection which the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver is very proud to present.