The Kayak Hunters
‘The Kayak Hunters’ by Pitseolak Ashoona – Inuit Art from Cape Dorset 1976 print collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts
Condition: Slight Wrinkling and yellowing of the paper overall. Two framing tapes in left and right upper edges verso.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: “The Kayak Hunters” – Traditionally the Inuit supported themselves by hunting fish, sea mammals and land animals for food, heat, light, clothing, tools and shelter. They hunted mainly seal and caribou, but also whales, walrus, polar bear, musk ox, fox and wolf. The animals were used for food and their skin was used for clothing, blankets, tents and boats. Their oil was used for cooking and lamps. Bones, ivory and wood were used to make tools. Little was wasted, there was no pollution and, apart from natural trends, animals and people lived in harmony with a land that most people from the south would find hostile in the extreme. The good hunters were respected, as was a good work ethic – lazy people or those that did not contribute to the community, were not. They were just another mouth to feed in a place where food could be very hard to come by.
The Kayak is an example of Inuit technological ingenuity that made it possible to live in the harsh conditions of the Arctic. These light, single-passenger boats were used primarily for hunting rather than a means of transport. The hunter silently approaches his prey to within range of the harpoon, lance or rifle. Great skill is required to avoid becoming entangled and capsized during the hunt, and the ability to roll the kayak was very valuable. Walrus are particularly dangerous and liable to attack and crush the kayak when provoked. In the past, when the kayak was still widely used for hunting, a high proportion of male deaths in Greenland were due to kayak hunting accidents.