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Jutai Toonoo (1959-2015), Cape Dorset

“For four thousand years Inuit people had a bond with the land. Gone in one generation.” — Jutai Toonoo


Gargoyle, 2001:  “This is a self-portrait. I’m not very handsome. Sometimes I feel like a gargoyle standing on the roof. Sometimes I’m like that: I just watch everybody. That’s what gargoyles do.”

The Lump, 2001:  ”He has no legs. It can’t do anything. I was feeling useless when I made this. The figure is scratching his head: ‘What am I doing?’”

Brethren, 2000:  ” In church when I look at the congregation, they all look unhappy. Heads down. Others are asleep because they are so bored. Only the pastor at the top is smiling. That’s how it works.”

The Rock II, 2002:  ” I did five of these with the idea in mind that they were going to be very minimal. I wanted to show the kind of rock we work on. I like to think of myself as a minimalist.”

My Boat Sank!, 2000:  ”That was the year my boat sank. I was so frustrated I had to laugh. I lost everything–all my hunting tools. What could i do?”

Double Minded, 2000:  ”In the Bible it says, ‘Double-minded people are unstable in all their ways.’”

Jutai Toonoo, from the artist’s 2005 interview with Robert Kardosh of Marion Scott Gallery (Vacouver) on the occasion of the show, Life Forms: Jutai Toonoo in Cape Dorset.  Above image: Jutai with The Rock II; Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver, 2005.

Hierarchy, 2002: “I was thinking about kings and queens and presidents and I was baffled. I look at people as people, even if they are the Chancelor of Germany or the Govenor-General of Canada. The way I look at it, we’re all made of the same thing; we all have the same feeling; we all cry, we all laugh.”

Jutai Toonoo, from the 2002 Feheley Fine Arts (Toronto) show catalog, Toonoo’s Legacy.

Jutai Documentary (filmed while drawing Eskimo Tan, 2010)

Eskimo Tan, 2010: