Art Type
Original Drawing
Drawing - oil stick on black wove paper
Original Drawing
Size (in)
Paper (H x W): 26 ½ x 19 ½ in
Size (cm)
Paper (H x W): 65 x 50 cm
Not Framed
Product ID



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Woman’ by Jutai Toonoo – Inuit Art from Cape Dorset 2012 original hand drawing collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.

Condition: No condition to be noted.

Description by Artist: No description by artist found.

Notes from DaVic Gallery:  A standout among his peers, Jutai Toonoo consistently challenges our perceptions of Inuit art. This drawing is no exception. In fact, it may remind you of Paul Gauguin’s Woman by the Sea or Pablo Picasso’s Blue Nude. And yet, it is indeed deeply Inuit since it depicts the life and the people Toonoo saw around himself. 

The figure of a woman sitting perhaps on a bed communicates containment of her emotional state. The folding of the arms and the slightly hunched-over posture signal modesty – perhaps even an attempt to cover up her nakedness. The bend of the head, its darker shading and the obscured facial expression give the impression of weariness, even sadness. Looking at the drawing, you may feel sympathy for, if not the affinity with, the woman, who may be preparing to take a rest at the end of a hard day. Toonoo keeps the space around the woman uncluttered, giving us only the background, which he depicts using textured deep reds and blues found in many of his drawings. Making her the only subject of the picture, he focuses our attention on her inner world. We can only guess what her outside world is like, but we can assume her life is not easy. 

Although carrying different responsibilities because of physical abilities, women in the Inuit culture have always played an equally important role in the survival of the family and the Inuit communities. Married couples had to work together to overcome nearly impossible living conditions. Because every individual had to rely on a partner to survive, marriages were often arranged at birth to ensure the survival of the family. In the modern culture, women participate in education and leadership roles more than men, often becoming primary wage earners while men take on roles traditionally held by women.

Jutai captures the sensual and beautiful essence of Inuit women in many of his works, such as Naked, Night Time and Inuung. This particular drawing is striking because of its deceptive simplicity. The title Woman is both straightforward and laden with meaning – meaning for us to discover as we contemplate this unique expression of Inuit art. 

The above description is copyrighted and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. When using the copyrighted material, please credit DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.