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Untitled (Sea Goddesses)




Untitled (Sea Goddesses)


About 1955-1960




32 x 18 x 7.8 cm


Purchase, Arthur Lismer Fund, inv. 1995.Aa.9


Quebec and Canadian Art

The carving of Kinngait (Cape Dorset) is inspired by the traditional Inuit belief in the spirits and powers that control everyday life. The most powerful being, Nuliayuk (also called Tallulijuk, Takannaaluk, Arnaaluk or Sedna) is both a human and a marine mammal. Legend has it that the father of a young woman who was refusing to marry cut off her fingers and threw her into the depths of the sea, where she became the protectress of the sea creatures.

Sedna, the woman of the sea, guardian of marine animals and protector of the environment, is fast becoming a symbol of climate change among the Inuit. Global warming is causing extensive change in the Arctic, as the warming process there is proceeding three times faster than elsewhere on the planet. The melting of ice earlier than previously and the shrinking of the ice cap in Kalaalliit Nunaat (Greenland) are forcing the inhabitants and animals to adapt to new conditions. This sculpture of two sea spirits is unique in that it represents both female and male sea spirits: Inuit sculptures usually depict only the woman sea spirit.

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