17 x 24 1/2 in. (43.2 x 62.2 cm)
First Nations (Canada)
(Northwest Territories, 1913 - 1972, Cape Dorset, Nunavut)
Inuit; made in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada
Medium and Support:
Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Location: Not currently on view
This print appears to refer to the Sedna myth, which was very important to the Inuit people. Honoring Sedna was critical to the success of the hunt. The figure at the bottom of this print with the human face, arms and legs with the bird next to it is likely to be Sedna.
There are many versions of the Sedna myth. In one tale, she married a man who is a bird in disguise and was very unhappy when he revealed himself. Her father came to save her and they tried to escape in a boat. A terrible storm came up and Sedna was cast overboard. From her accident all sea mammals and the polar bear were born. She also partially transformed into a sea mammal herself and lived at the bottom of the ocean. When great storms came up or animals were scarce, the Inuit believed that Sedna was upset. A shaman would go to her through a trance and calm her by brushing her hair.
[Label text from "Art from the Arctic: Inuit Prints and Sculpture" (11/20/09-2/14/10) by Cynthia Culbert]