Friday, July 1, 2011

Inuit Modern

Enchanted Owl
Spent a lunch hour viewing incredible masterpieces on display at Inuit Modern - AGO.

Prints, drawings and sculptures from the collection of Samuel and Esther Sarick.  What joy they must have had acquiring these treasures.

Taking it all in, in such a quick blur left me with dizzying mixed impressions.  I enjoyed the pace but fully expect to return to take my time and savour some of these pieces again.

There was a great variety:  a cribbage board dwarfed by player's pieces of caribou and bear; an early print of the Enchanted Owl stamp by Kenojuak Ashevak; the head of a female caribou with eyes of haunting depth; a playful drawing of a curtain of mosquitoes at a hunting camp; shamans dancing; spirits protecting mothers and children.

There are also the pieces that show the assault on the Inuit culture:  one of children sitting in rows reading from books, instead of in a story circle, jumped out at me as introducing a separateness of isolation and individualism.  There was another that contrasted square settlement houses with domed tents... a stark image that begs so many questions. And Sedna, the Inuit Sea Goddess, stretched on a cross like Christ.

The myth of Sedna, Inuit Goddess of the sea, is a myth shared by the Inuit and other North Pole peoples. After several trials and contests with her father over whom she should marry,  Sedna's father throws her in the sea from his boat and as she tries to climb back in he cuts off her fingers, one by one, so that she cannot grasp the boat. The fingers become the sea mammals and Sedna, falling to the bottom, becomes the goddess of the sea and sea life.  Aboriginal Spirituality
There were many manifestations of Sedna.  She must have been a personal favourite of the Sarick's.  And if you can't get to the AGO to check out Inuit Modern, at least check out this google gallery of images of the mythical goddess ...

1 comment:

Giulia said...

Well, all I have time to say tonight is...that is very cool. Will be back next week. xo