Now Online and By Appointment! Contact us at or 503-810-7525
Dancing Bear, 1990 by Nalenik Temela (1939-2003), Inuit

Dancing Bear, 1990 by Nalenik Temela (1939-2003), Inuit

Regular price $16,000.00 Sale

Dancing Bear, 1990
Nalenik Temela (1939-2003)
Kimmirut, Nunavut, Canada
18" high x 16" wide x 8" deep

This joyful Dancing Bear is one of Nalenik Temela’s finest. The bear is large and massively heavy, but visually the work is broken up into smaller rhythmic units because of the textural changes, and our eyes are also drawn around the work because of its lovely sinuous outline. Nalenik has an eye for balance and proportion. One of Nalenik’s trademarks is the crisp, almost angular treatment of the bear’s fur that runs down the animal’s neck; the beautiful S-curve adds a playful dimension. Nalenik’s treatment of smaller details such as the bear’s claws and its creased snout are also highly distinctive.

Nalenik Temela was born on the land near Kimmirut (Lake Harbour), Nunavut, Canada in 1939. He began carving in the mid 1950s at the age of fifteen, and likely created small ivories for the first few years. By the late 1960s he was carving larger stone sculptures, mostly depictions of bears and other wildlife. Nalenik and his family moved into Kimmirut only in the late 1970s, preferring life on the land until that time. His attitude to carving was decidedly old school as well; he preferred using simple home-made carving tools. His dedication to his art is summed up nicely here: “I admire and like to watch other carvers working. They inspire me to work just as hard as they are, which helps me to keep doing my best, especially during long, hard, cold winters when I have to work outside.”

Nalenik is best known and celebrated for his monumental depictions of bears that he began carving in the late 1980s, three of which were exhibited in the international Masters of the Arctic exhibition of 1989. These works are truly distinctive for their textural effects. The bears’ matte, delicately textured torsos and limbs contrast strongly with their highly polished heads and paws; it’s a clever invention that makes Nalenik’s bears really stand out. 

⏳ Sale ends in {timer}