• Feature

Polar Bears in Print

Feb 27, 2020
by Jessica MacDonald

Prints offer the opportunity to explore polar bears in new ways, establishing narratives that shape and alter the perception of both what bears are capable of and how their relationship with Inuit has developed and continues to change.

Peaceful or peeved, hunter or hunted, in these prints Inuit artists have illustrated their kinship with polar bears, the capacity they have for family and affection, and the fundamental role they play as the Arctic’s apex land predator. In short, the ways in which they are both like humans and not.


Kananginak Pootoogook
Angujjuaq (Great Big Bear) (2003) Lithograph and Stencil 102 x 71.2 cm Printmaker Pitseolak Niviaqsi
Copyright Dorset Fine Arts 


Andrew Qappik
Floe Edge Polar Bear (2018) Stencil 40 x 65 cm
Courtesy Inuit Gallery of Vancouver


Helen Kalvak
Underwater Fishing (1973) Stonecut 20 x 30 cm Printmaker Harry Egotak
Courtesy Northern Images


Ningiukuluk Teevee 
Tiguaq (Adopted) (2017) Stonecut 39.3 x 52 cm
Copyright Dorset Fine Arts 


Agnes Nanogak Goose Bears Swimming (1970) Stonecut 20 x 30 cm Printmaker Harry Egotak Courtesy Northern Images


Tim Pitsiulak
Pause (2016) Linocut 22 x 25.5 cm Printmaker Niviaksie Quvianaqtuliaq
Copyright Dorset Fine Arts


Daniel Inukpuk
Mother Bear With Her Cub (1973) Stonecut 9.5 x 13.5 in
Courtesy La Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau Québec


Victoria Mamnguqsualuk
The Bear Cares From Adoptive Mother (1990) Woodcut/Stencil 48 x 64 cm Printmaker Phillipa Aningnerk Iksiraq
Courtesy Northern Images


Alec Aliknak Banksland
Sudden Awakening (1969) Stonecut 45.6 x 61.2 cm
Courtesy Northern Images


Sarni Pootoogook
Two Polar Bears (1964) Etching 12.5 × 18 in
Courtesy Spirit Wrestler Gallery Reproduced with Permission Dorset Fine Arts