AKEEAKTASHUK (1898-1954) m., INUKJUAK (PORT HARRISON)
Striding Hunter, c. 1951-53
stone, ivory, and inlay, 10 x 6.5 x 5.5 in (25.4 x 16.5 x 14 cm)
Estimate: $20,000 — $30,000
Ex Collection of Mr. William (Bill) Larmour, Ontario;
Walker's Auctions, May 2012, Lot 23;
acquired from the above by the present Private Collection, U.K.
This impressive portrait of a hunter stands out in Akeeaktashuk's oeuvre for its vitality and realistic sense of movement. Akeeaktashuk's larger-scale figures are generally subdued, even static in pose; they give a sense of being truly frozen in motion. In this work, not only the man's dynamic pose but also the folds of his parka and the windblown tip of its hood reveal him as a man of action. The hunter is here captured mid-stride; the delicate contours of his parka stretched taut across his torso suggest that his body is slightly torqued, revealing both his forward motion and the forceful, ready swing of his spear and knife.
Rare among Akeeaktashuk's depictions of hunters, this sculpture seems conceived as part of a narrative. The presence of the hunter's prey is implied, off in the distance; the keen gaze of the subject's sensitively carved face is cast toward a target unseen by us but clearly visible to him. Consequently, the space surrounding this striding hunter and his imagined catch is charged with anticipation and energy. The sculpture is an engaging portrayal of confidence and determination.
References: For other fine examples by Akeeaktashuk of hunters carved on a similar scale and/or style or pose see Jean Blodgett, Selections from the John and Mary Robertson Collection of Inuit Sculpture (Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 1986), cat. 31 (also illus. in Walker's Auctions, Nov. 2011, Lot 33); Walker's Auctions, May 2017, Lot 66.