Canadian, b. 1933
Growling Lion, 1965
stone (green serpentinite)
23.9 x 23.5 x 26 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Twomey Collection, with appreciation to the Province of Manitoba and Government of Canada
Kiugak Ashoona has had the longest artistic career of any of the Cape Dorset artists still alive today. He began making ivory carvings in the late 1940s and turned to the use of stone in 1951 when sculpture was first purchased for export to southern markets. Kiugak once explained his unusual, non-Arctic animal imagery in this sculpture. He had travelled to Ottawa for an exhibition opening and was impressed by a sculpture of a lion on the Parliament Buildings. He decided to see if he could do the same, and created this work and two other versions of a lion as the subject. Kiugak is known for his fierce shamanic creatures in stone and the WAG piece has the same aggressive stance as his “spirit” pieces.