Joanie Ragee

Date of Birth : May 2nd, 1986
Birth Place: Iqaluit, Nunavut
Residence: Kinngait (Cape Dorset)

Joanie Ragee is one of the most admired and talented young Inuit artists, having achieved such amazing recognition early in his career. He discovered his talent and creativity as young as twelve years old, when he started sculpting inukshuks, and since, has developed an affinity towards carving his most beloved animal, the polar bear.

He credits his older brother Siutapik Ragee, as well as his grandfather Inuk Munamie, for teaching him in the traditional way, by letting him watch them sculpt. His family of talented artists also extent to his uncles, the famous Toonoo Sharkey and Napachie Sharky. He lives in Kinngait, formally known as Cape Dorset, which is the largest community of Inuit artists in Nunavut, located at the southern tip of Baffin Island. This is where Joanie Ragee also took time to observe and take lessons from the two of the most high-profile accomplished Inuit carvers, Nuna Parr and Ashevak Adla, who are also known for their sculptures of bears.

Joanie’s bears are realistically carved, with a great sense of mass and movement, distinguished with stunning stylized features, such as the muscular neck and the light-capturing line under the throat. His signature design bears are almost immediately recognizable, and in the last short while, his admirers have noticed such massive growth in his expertise and personal style.

There’s a favourite old legend that says that the highest honour for an Inuk is to reincarnate as the majestic polar bear for their next life, as the king of the arctic is no doubt the highest most respected animal of all. And so finally, once he or she does, their joy is so intense that they can’t help but dance!

Joanie Ragee continues to impress, especially with his brilliant execution of bears balancing on top of one other, made from a single piece of stone, as well as his bears that can truly dance in multiple positions, making the Dancing Bear a legend to never be forgotten.

Being at the forefront of the new generation of young contemporary Inuit artists, he continues to excite those that follow and collect his work worldwide.