Born in 1969, Samonie is the son of graphic artists Sheokju and Toonoo, and the youngest brother of renowned Cape Dorset sculptors Oviloo Tunnillie and Jutai Toonoo.
Samonie Toonoo began carving in his early twenties, with a focus on realistically depicted wildlife and figures. Today, he tends to express more social issues, giving sculptural shape to more abstract concepts.
Samonie’s figures are unlike any other carver’s work in Cape Dorset, and at times may have a macabre appearance. He often combines several materials in once piece—carving a face from antler, for example. Samonie’s works often have a deeper spiritual meaning, reflecting what he describes as a strong connection to a world beyond the here-and-now. He believes that powerful spirits are always here to protect us in need.
Samonie Toonoo’s has exhibited in Canada, the United States, Germany, and Switzerland.