Eskimo Sculpture High Park

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Children romp while dad; eskimo sculptor Pauta – who is from cae dorset – works in high park


Parks, Recreation and City Property

Re “Subject: Eskimo Sculpture High Park.

“Origin: Commissioner of Parks and Recreation. Symposium in High Park

“Comments: During 1967 the City conducted an International Sculpture Symposium in High Park, during which time twelve sculptors from various parts of Canada, the United States and Europe were invited to create sculptures which would become the property of the City. Ten of these works were completed and, with the exception of two pieces which are located in the Art Gallery of Ontario, are on display in a section of High Park. Most of these have proven to be of great interest to children visiting the parka and are used as play- sculpture or novel pieces of playground apparatus. However, a sculpture executed by Pauta, an Eskimo carver, has been the object of considerable defacement by members of the public (as shown on photographs to be presented to your Committee) and it is my opinion that, eventually, it could be destroyed in the park’s unsupervised environment. I have now received the attached communication from Mr. Robert McMichael, Director of The Robert McMichael Collection, Kleinberg, which is an Ontario Crown Corporation responsible to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in which it is suggested that this sculpture be relocated on the front lawn of the main entrance to this outstanding collection of Canadian art. I visited the site yesterday and concur in the suggestion made by Mr. McMichael.

“Recommendation: Accordingly, I recommend that the sculpture executed by Pauta, presently located in High Park, be transferred to Her Majesty in Right of Ontario, to be relocated on a site in front of The McMichael Canadian Collection Galleries at Kleinburg, Ontario, subject to the Collection assuming all costs involved in relocating and restoring the sculpture and, in addition, undertaking that, if at any time in the future the Collection does not wish to display this sculpture at this location, the same will be returned to the City of Toronto.”

“Further to our recent discussions, I would like on behalf of this Collection and the Province of Ontario to request the transfer of a piece of Eskimo stone sculpture by the carver Pauta, from High Park to the front lawn of the main entry of this Collection. Such a transfer would, in effect, be a transfer from the City of Toronto to Her Majesty in Right of Ontario. This Collection would be responsible for all costs involved in moving the sculpture. Since it has been defaced, we would have a complete, professional cleaning and restoration done and the collection would be responsible for this cost also. It would be particularly fitting to have this piece of sculpture here since the new entry has been based on a thematic plan with a large totem pole from British Columbia representing the west, a large anchor on the eastern wall presented by the Province of Nova Scotia representing the Maritimes and, of course, the sculpture which would be on the north side of the building would represent the Arctic. I feel sure that I speak for the entire Province when I say that we would be very grateful to you and the City of Toronto if this move can be accomplished.”

source: City of Toronto minutes. Report No. 14. 3649 1973 volume 4 352.9713 T59

Pauta Saila RCA
Cape Dorset, Nunavut Territory, Canada

Pauta was born in the camp of his father, the tribe leader Saila, at Kilaparutua near what is now Cape Dorset. He grew up on the land and began carving as a teenager, making implements and tools from ivory. Later, he carved narrative camp and hunting scenes. Pauta moved to Cape Dorset after marrying his second wife, Pitaloosie, and by the early 1960s he was contributing to the annual print release. His work was in the famous 1971-73 “Sculpture/Inuit. Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic” exhibition that toured the world. He was one of the first to see the strengths of developing an idiosyncratic, personally autographic style. Although he has worked on a wide variety of themes during his career, he is most famous for his depictions of dancing bears. After a lifetime of exhibitions and accolades, Pauta was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 2003. Source of bio information Excerpt from Cape Dorset Sculpture, 2005.

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