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Mark Totan Biography Photo

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Mark Totan is an Inuk artist originally from the small community of Igloolik, in the territory of Nunavut, on the north shore of Hudson’s Bay.
Mark is a self-taught artist who has been carving original sculptures in soapstone for many years. Mark was born in 1951 in the small town of Igloolik, Northwest Territories (in the new Province of Nunavut). He has traveled throughout Canada, and has also lived in Hall Beach and Iqaluit.
He presently resides in Alberta to better access markets for his work.

Mark is a self-taught artist, and has carved in a variety of stone and antler mediums for the past 42 years.
Each carving is original and depicts the history, symbols and lifestyle of native people of Canada.
Traditionally, the art form has been handed down from the older master carver to the younger members
of the family and therefore carried on through the generations.

Mark has been carving stone since 1988 and continues to use traditional methods in his carving.
When asked to carve a particular image, he has often said that the stone decides what it will be.
Because Canadian soapstone has become less accessible, the carvings of Mark Totan
can be sculpted in soapstone's from around the world including East Indian, South & North American
and Chinese, all having individual characteristics depending on the geographical region of origin.


Mark Totan displays and sells his carvings in various galleries throughout North America
and has sold work through the Hudson Bay Co-op.
The sculptures of Mark Totan have been included in numerous private and corporate collections
throughout the world and his carvings have been used for many corporate projects.
Mark Totan is 66 years old. His two sons, Clivelon and Tony also carve.


Like the elder carvers, Mark initially roughs out the block of carving stone with
hammer and chisel, then uses files, rasps and sandpaper for finishing.
Once the general form is achieved,
he then uses as assortment of rasps and various degrees of sandpaper to achieve the final effect.
Each piece reflects some feature of the lifestyle and history of his people.

The final touch consists of rubbing with a wax or Danish oil
to bring out the natural finish of the stone.
The stone may vary in color and markings from shades of black and brown
to various shades of green as well as shades from cream to pure white.
Its softness and luster characterize soapstone.

He is well known for his sculpture, and especially enjoys carving polar bears.
He takes time to ensure each has the detailing of the thick, loose fur and strength
shown throughout the muscles of the body and legs.

Since carving full time, Mark has been gaining a wide audience appreciative of his sculptures.
His works now form an integral part of numerous private and corporate collections.

His two sons, Tony & Clivelon also carve.



1998 The Power of Stone
Bayat Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

1997 Bears from the Arctic
Bayat Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

1997 Exhibition, Orca Art Gallery , Chicago, Illinois



Alberta Irving Oil
St. John
New Brunswick Chrysler Canada
Ontario Government of Alberta
Alberta Mobile Oil
Alberta Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations
Grand Chiefs Office
Saskatchewan Prince Albert Grand Council
Numerous private collections



Click Here or Image to view MARK TOTAN'S Art

Art Country Canada
Rocky Mountain Art Gallery
729 Main Street
Canmore , Alberta
T1W 2B2


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