Kiviuq and the Grizzly
‘Kiviuq and the Grizzly’ by Jessie Oonark, RCA, OC – Inuit Art – Baker Lake 1981 print collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
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Condition: Very Good condition – professionally treated for humidity stains in entire area that covered about 25% of the print on right side leaving faint but visible stains from uncrackable mold spore shells in right area that cannot be further cleaned. These mold spores have been chemically stabilized and only mild stains remain. Pictures of the stains are included for your assessment:
- Picture # 6 – condition faintly visible front of paper upper right area.
- Picture # 7 – condition more visible back of paper same area.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: There was once a grizzly that always dug up the caribou cache to eat them. So nobody could have any caribou to eat during the winter because the grizzly dug them up before the Inuit could come for them. Kiviuq offered to hide himself in the cache and wait for the grizzlies. Eventually the grizzlies dug him up and carried him away. As he was being carried and whenever they came through willows and heather, he would hold on to the heathers and willows and the bear would pull with all his might because it thought that the body was caught on heathers or willows. When they arrived to the bear cave there were two bear cubs waiting for them. The cubs could talk. When they entered the bear’s home the bear stood Kiviuq’s body upside down on the back wall leaning against the wall. The bear was very tired from carrying the man and went to sleep facing the back wall. Kiviuq pretending to be dead opened his eyes a little bit to look for instruments with which he could use to kill the bear. One of the bear cubs saw him open his eyes a little and said to his father, “Ataak, Appa ijinnik uikkik.”
Probably unbelieving the papa bear said “let him open his eyes. Today he was grabbing onto the willows trying to sway me” and continued trying to sleep. Kiviuq kept looking and finally saw an axe. Suddenly he grabbed the axe and immediately knocked out the sleeping papa bear. He tried quickly to get out of the cave but the mama bear was heating up a pot of water, cooking in the porch. There were two pots of boil fat made from cooking people. In those days the pots were made out of caribou skin so the man quickly stabbed the pots to pour out the fat of the people. The mama bear was so busy trying to save the pots that Kiviuq quickly went past her to go out. He started running but the mama bear started off after him. Kiviuq drew a line in the ground and a big cliff formed between him and the bear. This slowed down the bear because she had to climb the cliff. He then drew a line again in the ground and a gushing river formed between him and the bear. When the mama bear reached the river she asked, “How did you cross the river? How did you cross the river” “By drinking it. By drinking it until it’s empty.” So the bear started drinking the river, wanting to cross the river. She kept drinking and got really full. She even went into the middle of the river while drinking wanting to get to the other side. She just got really full and went back ashore. As soon as she started to shake she burst and created fog.
Reference picture # 8 for size comparison with letter size paper sheet.