Ottokie Samayualie

One original hand-carved sculpture by Inuit artist, Ottokie Samayualie. One dancing bear carved out of serpentine.

Born: June 17, 1980 Kinngait (Cape Dorset) Nunavut
Residence: Kinngait (Cape Dorset) Nunavut

Ottokie Samayualie is the son of talented artists Johnny and Kuluajuke Tunnillee. In Nunavut, it is not uncommon to see a recurring artistic talent in a family. Indeed, in this territory, talent, as well as artistic and technical know-how is transmitted from generation to generation rather than in an art academy.
Ottokie started sculpting at the age of nine. His favourite subject is the dancing bear, which he presents in many different poses.

In his sculptures, we find a combination of abstracted and realistic shapes, with a great sense of fluid motion.
His sculptures are made of the finest serpentine stone, which has a wide range of stunning jade-like tones, ranging from light to very deep tones. Ottokie’s piece are smoothed and polished to an immaculate shine, which showcases the beauty and depth of the stone, and which also gives his work a contemporary feel. Serpentine is a rock similar in composition to jade and is found on Baffin Island. It is a very hard stone which requires a specific skill to carve compared to some other softer stones.
Ottokie’s happy dancing bears truly stand out and are a perfect tribute to the legend of the dancing bear, a favorite old story orally passed down generation to generation, which states that the polar bear, the great king of the arctic is so loved and respected that the highest hope and honour is to reincarnate into the bear for the next life. And so, when a human spirit finally does, he is filled with such immense joy, that he can’t help but dance, and dance…