Johnny Kataluk (1937-) lives in Coral Harbour (Salliq), on Southampton Island to the northwest of the Hudson Bay, and which is a small, relatively unknown, and certainly less marketed community. In 1902, the original Sallirmiut population died from disease brought by European whalers. Since that time, Coral Harbour has become populated by a blend of many Inuit peoples who have migrated from Baffin Island, Arctic Quebec, and the mainland Keewatin areas. Kataluk reflects this trend as he also moved to Coral Harbour from Arctic Quebec as a child.
Johnny Kataluk has been quietly carving for over thirty years — with little recognition outside of his own community. Generally he works in the local gray, often striated, soapstone when it is available, but supplements this with the rusty red limestone from a newly worked nearby quarry. [This exhibition coincided with an exhibition of artwork by Joe Eqilaq.] Despite the differences in age and locale, both artists have evolved their own very contemporary styles, which, are in many respects, quite similar in intent. One could say that the nuance of their minimalist carving styles is quite modern — but both are very much rooted in tradition. This is evident in their powerful representations of life on the land, the shamans in transformation, and their wonderful portrayals of the Sedna.
April 23 - May 14, 2016
The Spirit Wrestler team: Colin Choi, Derek Norton, Nigel Reading and Gary Wyatt, have been together now for over 30 years representing master-level Inuit, Northwest Coast, and Māori art - and for the last 20 years as the Spirit Wrestler Gallery. We are celebrating this amazing 20-year journey with a “birthday” exhibition, “Reflections 20Years”. The exhibition will feature many of the great artists from the three extraordinary cultures that we represent that have shared and supported us on this journey… and it is also a “thank you” for all of you who have made this journey so much fun! The Spirit Wrestler Gallery was founded in 1996 and quickly became one of the foremost galleries of first-nation art in North America. The name Spirit Wrestler originates from the title of the book by James Houston that tells the story of a young shaman learning his powers in the Canadian north. At the time, the gallery was looking for a name that allowed for the consideration of both traditional and shamanist-based arts here in Canada, as well as embracing the work by other artists from around the world. Early exhibitions included artists from Alaska, the Canadian Plains, and the Māori from New Zealand, being shown in the same room as Northwest Coast and Inuit art. The cross-cultural interactions have offered a unique fusion in the gallery and generated many group and solo exhibitions that we have hosted over the years. We were witnessing the trend of a growing interaction internationally between artists who were travelling far afield to research the art and modern cultural practices of other nations - and along the way, forging friendships that have endured across great distances. The last two decades have also been an exciting transition time for the arts being created by all three cultures. There was a pronounced movement towards the incorporation of new materials, such as glass, bronze, and polymers - which has opened new avenues for the art itself, both in terms of subject and scale. To be a part of seeing the artists exhibiting their work side-by-side has been very exciting and has made the Spirit Wrestler Gallery a unique and challenging experience for any visitor. We have had the privilege of representing many of the greatest Northwest Coast, Inuit, and Māori artists of our time - and have have had the privilege of showing a great number of the most important pieces produced over the last three decades. It has been an honour to share this long journey with so many great artists and clients. Thank you all so much for your belief and support.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
47 Water Street
Canada V6B 1A1
Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
3 blocks from Waterfront Station
Between Abbott St. and Carrall St.
Monday to Saturday, open 10-6
Sunday and Holidays, open 12-5
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