Condition: No condition noted.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: Do you have a sense of disbelief when looking at this drawing, questioning whether or not this is Inuit art? Jutai Toonoo, in his typical style, challenges what we understand to be Inuit art. Beyond that, his works leave us feeling shaky because the subjects, although easily recognizable, are not easily interpreted.
This drawing too at first glance is self-explanatory. It is a nude torso of a woman, from her chin to her hips. She is lying on her back, with her chin turned up and her arms by her side. Her breasts are in full view. But that is when answers cease and questions begin.
Does she lie on snow or ice? Does she float in the water? Is her flesh frozen, given the cyanosis of her skin especially evident on her right side? And perhaps the most fundamental question of all: is she dead or alive?
Next, you might try to make sense of the bright yellow, orange and pink colours creating unusual curving shapes on the woman’s body. The vivid bright colours may speak to the woman’s passion, her burning desire to receive her lover – her being very much alive.
And just when you think you understood the drawing, your gaze may linger on the grey opening where her heart would be. What is its symbolism? Do we interpret it as a hot female body without a heart? Or perhaps a deeply hidden heart? Or an unknowable heart? What about a fissure-like rip in the middle of her belly? Her lower abdomen? Or the dark spot on her hip?
Do these darker spots surrounded by bright tissues represent trauma, damage, decay? Is the body being opened and examined by someone just outside the frame? This rawness in exploring the female body is somewhat reminiscent of the rawness of Frida Kahlo’s depictions of her body.
No matter how you interpret the drawing, you cannot deny it is drawn with love, affection and admiration for the female form – typical of Toonoo’s works, such as Inuung, Night Time and Woman. And maybe after all the puzzling you do over the drawing, Toonoo’s clear love for his subject will leave you with the feeling of invitation extended by the woman’s body to explore it and enjoy it – in this case, as an enigmatic drawing.
Of note is the fact that Toonoo prefers not to draw portraits of people other than his own or his wife’s out of fear that the subjects may not like his depictions of them.
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