Karoo Ashevak sculpture commands $90,000 at auction

by Derek Neary- June 12, 2018

The relatively few works by the late Taloyoak artist Karoo Ashevak continue to be coveted, proven by a successful $90,000 auction bid on May 29 for one of his sculptures.

This Karoo Ashevak sculpture Shaman With Opposing Faces fetched $90,000 at auction through Waddington’s in Toronto on May 29. Both sides of the sculpture are shown above.
photo courtesy of Waddington’s

The live auction was held at Waddington’s in Toronto and a Canadian buyer now owns the sculpture – Shaman With Opposing Faces – according to Christa Ouimet, Inuit art specialist with Waddington’s.

Although the winning bid far exceeded the $30,000-$40,000 estimate that Waddington’s put on the piece, it wasn’t a record for Ashevak’s work. A larger one of his sculptures, similar in style, went for $130,000 in fall 2016.

“That’s just a classic Karoo,” Ouimet said of the recently sold sculpture. “He had a limited body of work so people are always seeking his works and you just never know where you’re going to find them.”

Ashevak was born in 1940 and lived much of his life on the land. He perished in a fire in Taloyoak in 1974.

The auction also resulted in a $52,800 sale of one Jessie Oonark tapestry and $31,200 being paid for another of Oonark’s tapestries. Oonark, who lived from 1906-1985, was the inspiration for the Jessie Oonark Centre, an arts and crafts store and artists’ workspace in Baker Lake.

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