In her earliest graphite drawings, Egevadluq Ragee enjoyed sketching large numbers of small, apparently unrelated figures of humans, animals and spirits rather than creating organized scenes or stand-alone figures. The single sketch that resulted in Vision of Caribou was chosen from one of these exploratory drawings. Image and background combine to create one of the loveliest prints of 1960, a year that saw considerable experimentation with this type of combination. Here, the inked stone block was superimposed on a background colour that had been applied with an inked whalebone slab. Because of the whalebone’s texture, the background for each print in the edition is quite different, thus creating a unique atmosphere for each image.
While Vision of Caribou might simply be one of Egyvadluq’s whimsical inventions, its meaning could be based on the notion of shamanic transformation, and thereby represent either a shaman’s spirit flight or his travels to the depths of the sea. The caribou, seal and human parts intermingle so beautifully and puzzlingly, that it is impossible to decipher exactly who is guiding or carrying whom, and where. Egyvadluq’s drawings inspired some eighty prints during her lifetime, but many would argue that this early, dreamy image is arguably the most beautiful.
© Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts