Falling Cup

Art Type
Original Drawing
Original oil-stick drawing on black paper
Original Drawing
Size (in)
Paper (H x W): 44 x 30 in
Size (cm)
Paper (H x W): 112 x 76 cm
Not Framed
Product ID



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‘Falling Cup by Jutai Toonoo — Inuit Art from Cape Dorset 2011 original hand drawing collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.

Condition:          no condition noted.

Description by Artist:     No description by artist found.

Notes from DaVic Gallery:   Like another of Jutai Toonoo’s everyday object drawings, The Saw, this piece draws the viewer in, provoking deep thinking. A seemingly simple subject – a falling cup – raises existential questions. Are we watching chaos in action? Was the falling of the cup an accident? Or a result of a deliberate action? Do we experience helplessness at our inability to stop the tragic end? Is the tragic end – the breaking of the cup – inevitable? Who decides that if the cup breaks, it is tragic? 

This moment could be analogous to a point in life when we attribute an outcome, especially an undesired outcome, to chaos, leaving us feeling helpless. Let’s say it was an accidental action that caused the cup to fall from where it was safely sitting. Now, in this moment in time and space, we witness the fall of this glass cup as it rushes towards an imaginary floor, expecting it to shatter into pieces upon impact. Can fate interfere? Could the cup land in a way that would preserve its integrity? Would we sigh in relief? Or would we attempt to take action to prevent the cup from breaking? Maybe a quick foot will cushion the fall, leaving the cup intact. Or maybe a fast reflex of the arm will allow us to catch the cup mid-air. If we are successful, would we regain a sense of control over the fate of the cup and, ultimately, over our own fate? Do we then prevail over chaos? Or do we create an unintended consequence, contributing to it? 

I would argue we become creators. (Whether we are benevolent creators or not is a secondary question but also one worth considering.) The cup, like a quantum particle that exists in a state of potential until it’s measured, doesn’t have a certain outcome. It only has possibilities of its future state. When we interfere, we choose the path for the cup – we choose the cup’s future. We manifest its future. And that is what makes us creators.

How many falling cups in your lifetime did you try to catch… perhaps in an attempt to save a loved one from the impact? 

The drawing is also an example of Jutai Toonoo’s genius to depict motion using a single object. Without any reference to the location of the cup in space, we know it is falling. The unsettling dark red background evokes the image of a vortex, a black hole, thus spurring the contemplation of chaos versus order, control over our lives versus fate.

What will this drawing, framed and displayed in your home or office, evoke in you each time you see it?

View picture #5 for size reference with a sheet of letter size paper.