Pauta Saila

Pauta Saila


Pauta Saila was a multidisciplinary artist from a Kilaparutua camp on Baffin Island, NU who made Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU his artistic community. Learning to live on the land, how to hunt and carve from his father Saila used his connection to the land to depict arctic wildlife in a personal and unique way.

Saila moved to Kinngait in the 1960s and became involved with the co-op shortly after [1]. Saila’s work featured in the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collections from 1961-1982. Saila’s graphic work evolved through his adaptation of new techniques such as using an axe to carve into engraving plates [2]. His graphic style was minimal yet full of playful energy.

More than his graphic works Saila is best known for his dancing bear sculptures. Working primarily in soapstone, he would carve bears balanced on one foot, with arms raised. He was able to contain the physical force of a polar bear caught in motion into each of his sculptures [3]. Dancing bears quickly gained popularity with southern collectors and later as souvenir art made for tourists. As dancing bears were in high demand many artists began to carve bears or other similar animal forms to meet the demand of collectors.

Saila’s work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally including exhibitions in the United States, France, Sweden, Belgium and Germany. His work is held in many public collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON, the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, U.S. and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Saila was also elected into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2003. Saila’s artistic legacy continues to inspire generations of younger artists.



1999     Created bronze "Dancing Bear" (1999) for Byward Market in Ottawa, Ontario.

1967     Participated in the International Sculpture Symposium taking place at High Park in Toronto, Ontario.

Artist Work

About Pauta Saila


Graphic Arts, Sculpture

Artistic Community:

Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.

Kilaparutua camp, Kilapak

Date of Death:

Artists may have multiple dates of death listed as a result of when and where they passed away. Similar to date of birth, an artist may have passed away outside of a community centre or in another community resulting in different dates being recorded.

The Igloo Tag Trademark
The Igloo Tag Trademark is an internationally recognized symbol that denotes handmade, original artwork made by Inuit artists in Canada. Established in 1958, the Trademark is now managed by the Inuit Art Foundation. The appearance of the Igloo Tag on an artist profile means they have had the Trademark applied to their artwork.

Edit History

February 23, 2018 Created By: Lera Kotsyuba