‘Gratitude’ by Kenojuak Ashevak — Inuit Art from Cape Dorset 1990 original hand drawing collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
Condition: No condition to be noted.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: With the ability to travel being central to the successful survival of northern cultures, the value of the working dog is immeasurable. As hunting companion, pack and draught animal, the Inuit dog (Canis familiaris borealis) enhanced the ability of the Inuit and their ancestors to move from place to place, toting their few belongings, in the constant search for game. These dogs are extremely versatile and the perfect companions for the Inuit for packing, transportation, hunting and protecting against polar bears. The Canadian Eskimo Dog is extremely strong and he can pull twice its weight through the harshest weather and terrain.
As a hunting companion, the Inuit dog’s predatory skills have helped stack the odds of locating and retrieving game in the hunters’ favour. This, in a harsh environment where animals were almost the sole source of all that was needed to sustain life. The seal, with its rich meat and abundant blubber, was a valuable food source for the Inuit. While hunting with its master on the vast expanse of sea ice, the Inuit dog’s superior olfactory sense would allow it to sniff out the seal’s breathing hole (alluk), en opening a few centimeters in diameter on the surface of the ice concealing an inverted funnel reaching several feet across at its base. The breathing hole, which is gnawed and scratched out by the seal through several feet of ice, is detectable only by a slightly protruding mound on the surface of the sea ice. Once an “active” alluk was located, the hunter might stoop for hours, harpoon at the ready, in anticipation of the return of the seal.
For a freight animal, it has always been desirable to have as strong a dog as possible. The size of the animal was to be balanced with the amount of food needed to maintain it however, especially in a polar environment where food supply was, at times, non-existent. The dog that could subsist on very little food had a survival advantage and was probably smaller than its team-mates, who succumbed to starvation because of their higher intake requirement. During periods when food was more plentiful, however, the larger animal’s size would have allowed it to compete more successfully for food. These conflicting objectives resulted in the development over many generations of a size of Inuit dog that today is in balance with its environment.
The Inuit dog is naturally carnivorous, its food derives from the land and seas of the polar region. Its preferred diet is primarily from marine sources – seals, walruses and, in some areas, small whales.
I think it is very interesting experience to be holding in your own hands an original piece of paper that such great artist as Kenojuak Ashevak handled, turned, twisted, drew, stored, changed, all from her house and then delivered to West Baffin Eskimo Coop to then deliver to Dorset Fine Arts and that has exchanged hands among many different galleries and art exhibits. Now available for you to proudly own…