An achingly beautiful dancing polar bear sculpted from a piece of light green serpentine. It is a sight to behold. The white specks in the stone have a slight bluish tint and the entire piece gleams in the sunlight coming through the window. The sculpture simply radiates joy.
I am sitting quietly in the living room, aware of the beauty that surrounds me. Art of various kinds, ceramics, African and Indian wall hangings, sculpture and paintings. We are fortunate to have such splendour in our midst. The bear keeps me company and lifts my spirits.
It was carved by Joanie Ragee, a young man born in 1986 in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
He began carving in his early teens, watching his grandfather and uncles at work, all skilled craftspeople. He works in the traditional way; his favourite subject matter are animals – walrus, seals, birds and, most of all, polar bears. His work is now well-known and he is famous for his large polar bear pieces, made out of serpentine.
I try to teach my young grandchildren to appreciate the art in our home. Partly, this is a defensive move, as in, “don’t throw that ball in here, you could break something!” But it’s also to help them attune to what is beautiful in the world and to what might draw them to particular pieces.
Thank you Joanie Ragee for adorning our home with this wonderful, joyful work.