Jonasie Faber
Various Regions :: Inuit Sculpture

Untitled (PNW-002)
ivory and soapstone, 18.5" (height)


Jonasie Faber – Artist Biography

Jonasie Faber (male; b:1944); Inuit art sculpture carver; born Julianehaab, Greenland.

Jonasie (Quarqortoq) Faber is an Inuit artist who occupies a unique place in the Inuit culture of Canada. He moved to Canada when he was 30, and now lives in Princeton, B.C. In contrast to other Inuit carvers, many of whom remain deeply rooted in their homeland and in their culture, Jonasie has traveled widely and experienced many other cultures while still preserving his Inuit heritage.

At the age of fifteen, Faber felt the urge to sail the seven seas and he signed on as seamancadet on the sailing training-ship George Stage, in which he sailed the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, getting as far as Rio de Janeiro. Later, he served on an icebreaker in the high Arctic, and obtained his navigator’s ticket from the naval officers’ college in Kopenhagen. For many years he plied the stormy waters around Greenland before becoming the harbour master of Godthab. He traveled to Greenland and the Canadian Arctic with a millionaire to buy sculptures by Inuit artists for resale in the rest of Canada. Some of the sculptures were damaged during the shipment, and Jonasie Faber set about repairing them himself, this gave him the impetus to try sculpting.

Like many Inuit artists, he, too, is an acid hunter and even casts his own ammunition. While out hunting one day, he discovered a deposit of soapstone, the rock used by Inuit artists for their sculptures, 100km away from the nearest highway. He leased the piece of land which lies only 50 km north of the U.S. border and about 250 km from his home. Having acquired his own quarry, he had solved the problem of obtaining the material for his sculptures. The rock, though, is not the usual light- or dark- green soapstone of the Arctic familiar to us through the sculptures from Cape Dorset and Baker Lake, but a soapstone with yellowish- brown to reddish inclusions, lending it a kind of grain which Jonasie Faber uses – or he would not be an artist- like a woodcarver uses the grain of his wood as an integral part of his carvings to emphasize their three-dimensional character. The grain of the stone plays an essential part in all his sculptures, though, even when he uses green soapstone. As an ardent hunter, Faber will shoot anything but bears. Bears are accorded an almost reverent respect by him. His family is delighted when he brings home the game he was bagged, but no bear meat is ever put on his table.

Through hunting and the outdoors, Faber retains a physical connection to his culture which has also lead him to the discovery of a significant archaeological site, yet to be studied in detail. A true Renaissance man, Jonasie is also an avid amateur historian. In the late 1980's, he petitioned Greenlandic Home Rule to take action to preserve Illulissat glacier and the remains of a Viking Church dating to the year 1000. In 1991, the Greenlandic government sent him to Paris to begin the process of having the sites included in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List. Jonasie envisioned a replica of Tjodhildes, the Viking Church, near the original site. Unable to secure Government funding, he partnered with his long time friend, adventurer Jay Fiondella, from Santa Monica, California. They endeavored to create a non-profit organization and hoped to complete construction by the year 2000. News of foreign, particularly American financing, spurred the Greenlandic Government to action! They funded construction. Faber was immensely proud of his involvement, when Tjodhildes Church was featured on the cover of National Geographic Magazine, June 2010.

In 2004, the Illulissat Glacier, officially made it into the UNESCO World Heritage List, generating over $ 11 million a year in tourism for Greenland. The Viking Historical sites of Greenland, are still pending the enrollment in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Using his eclectic interests, expertise and knowledge of several languages, Faber has also become a respected adviser to a Greenlandic member of the Danish Parliament and continues to work for the well being of Greenlandic Inuit. Early in his long artistic career, the Danish Queen and her husband, who own at least one of his sculptures, visited one of Jonasie's art shows. Jonasie and the Prince corresponded for a number of years afterwards. In his seventieth year, Jonasie is one of the oldest working Inuit artists. In recent years his work has evolved into more sophisticated expressions of Inuit spirituality. It is now marketed exclusively through very few international art dealers in Canada, the USA and Europe.



Daphne OdjigDaphne Odjig, Canadian Indigenous Artist and Icon Dies at 97. Click here for more details.

Odjig is frequently referred to as the "Grandmother of Indigenous Art." She has been the recipient of many awards, honours and recognitions for her works, to name a few: The Order of Canada, the Governor General's Award, and eight Honorary Doctorates. Her works have been shown in the National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

She established the first native-run fine art print house in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1971. Known as 'Odjig Indian Prints,' this print house was so successful that it evolved into an Indigenous gallery space in 1974, called the New Warehouse Gallery, run by Odjig and her husband, Chester Beavon. She was also a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. This artistic group's purpose was to promote Contemporary Indigenous art and artists.

Alex JanvierAlex Janvier's major retrospective, "Alex Janvier: Modern Indigenous Master" is now open at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario until January 21st, 2018. Afterwards, it will travel to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.

This exhibition was recently on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. (Photo credit: Kim Griffiths)

Rita LetendreGallery Gevik congratulates renowned Canadian and International abstract painter, Rita Letendre, on her first major museum retrospective exhibition outside of Québec. Rita Letendre: Fire and Light is now open until September 17, 2017 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

This exhibition, which covers Letendre's career from the 1960's to 2000's, is co-curated by Wanda Nanibush and Georgiana Uhlyarik. The retrospective features nearly forty large-scale paintings drawn from major national public and private collections.

Letendre was widely exhibited with the artistic groups, Les Automatistes and Les Plasticiens. She has received the Governor General's Award in Visual Arts, the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas, and the Orders of Canada, Ontario and Québec. Click here for more details.