Artist of the moment…..Joe and Mialia Jaw…and the Jaw family of Inuit artists…..

Joe Jaw was a great Inuit sculptor thought by many to be the best ever at his craft. Joe Jaw was born in 1930.  Joe Jaw passed away in 1987. The artist had four children, all sons that went on to become world renown artists.

Joe Jaw was married to another artist  named Mialia Jaw. Born in 1934, Mialia was an artist best known for her prints and printmaking skills. Mialia passed away in 2006. Below some examples of Mialia Jaw’s style. Mialia enjoyed using colour in her works giving them a lively and vibrant feel.

Joe and Mialia Jaw had four sons that went to become artists. One such son is Pootoogook Jaw that was born in 1959. Below some examples of his Pootoogook Jaw’s art. The artist has been carving nearly his entire life and varies his mediums accordingly. The harder the stone, the simpler the character. Some main themes are birds and hunters.

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Mathew is another son born in 1950  who is not only a great artist, but also the mayor of Cape Dorset.  His last name is not Jaw, his full name is Mathew Saviadjuk. The artist has been a leader and a great example for all Inuit artists to learn from. Mathew led the art- cooperative the West Baffin co-op. His main themes are wildlife and the spirit/ shaman like human spirit. Interestingly nowadays not many musk ox live in Cape Dorset, though its a theme used through by many carvers. Mathew didn’t see one in person until 2001! So it is possible to create great art by only seeing subjects on television.

King Jaw, also known as Kingwatsiak Jaw, was the youngest of the artist brothers being born in 1962. As a youngster he was interested in all art forms and tried carving at the age of 8 years old. King Jaw didn’t approach carving with the idea of being a professional artist until he was in his thirties. King Jaw is a certified carpenter and a very skilled mechanic. Like the rest of his family he is from the Cape Dorset, Nunavet Territory in Canada. His main influence on his art other than his father was the aforementioned Pootoogook.

The last son Salamonie was a heavy drinker and ended shooting and killing a police officer in 2004.

What an interesting family of world class museum level artists!


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