Aulajijakka (Things I Remember)
“Cutting Walrus in Igloo” story from the “Aulajijakka (Things I Remember)” series by Kananginak Pootoogook – Inuit Art – Cape Dorset 2010 print collection by Dorset Fine Arts, presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
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Notes from DaVic Gallery: “Cutting Walrus in Igloo” story from the “Aulajijakka (Things I Remember)” series by Kananginak Pootoogook.
The series “Aulajijakka” (Things I Remember) by Kananginak Pootoogook are all signed posthumously by the artist’s son, Johnny Pootoogook.
Walrus was an important part of the diet and culture of the Inuit and prized for the many uses: tusks were carved into snow knives, parts for dog team harnesses, tools and weapons, and are now used for carvings. Skins could be made into winter linings for stone huts or frozen and used as simple sleds. The baculum (bone from the penis) of a walrus was used for many purposes, including tent poles and sled frames. The membrane from the baculum was peeled off, inflated to stretch it, and later used as a translucent window to let light into huts or igloos. The meat of the walrus is considered excellent, and good for long trips as it does not spoil easily. A particular favourite is made by sewing up the meat inside the skin and burying it under a pile of gravel, where it is allowed to ferment for a few months. When it is dug up, the fermented walrus meat is a delicacy.
While a single walrus represents an immense amount of meat and hide, it is also a formidable opponent, powerful and agile in the water, and armed with impressive tusks easily able to penetrate a skin-covered kayak.
Segment from “Nanook of the North” 1922 documentary by Robert J. Flaherty