Tudlik began carving in the early 1950s and worked as a sculptor until his death. His best-known works are small stone bears and especially birds. However, Tudlik designed six prints, five of which were released in the first Cape Dorset catalogued collection of 1959. Three of these images, including Bird Dream Forewarning Blizzards, are among the most enigmatic and evocative of early Cape Dorset prints.
In this image, the artist shows the gaunt, almost corpse-like image of a human – possibly Tudlik himself or perhaps a shaman – experiencing a dream or trance-induced vision of a powerful bird spirit. The imposing spirit bird is a hybrid creature, either part human or bear. This haunting creation is quite unlike Tudlik’s charming bird carvings, but it does, interestingly, “foreshadow” some of the transformation sculptures by his son Latcholassie Akesuk (1919-2000).
The textured blue background lends a marvellously spooky atmosphere to this scene. During the early years of Cape Dorset print production, printmakers actively experimented with background effects. They sometimes directly applied inks to the paper with rollers or, as seems to be the case here, rolled ink onto a sheet of creased paper, which they then transferred onto the print paper before transferring the image itself.
© Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts