‘Narwhal Spirit’ by Tim Pitsiulak – Inuit Art – Cape Dorset 2013 print collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
Condition: No condition to be noted.
Description: Pitsiulak, who lived in Cape Dorset, said that he knew he wanted to draw whales because he always sees the animals, and “no one knows that much about them.” “I hunt back home and seeing them when I go boating, [they’re] just that much more beautiful. They’re huge and they’re very powerful,” he said.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: “Narwhal Spirit” shows a woman transformed into whale wearing an amauti, which in turn reaffirms this is s woman.
Legend of the Blind Boy and his Cruel Mother
A long time ago a widow lived with her daughter and her son in a hut. The boy had a bow and arrows of walrus tusks and shot birds, which they ate. Before he was grown up he accidentally became blind, and from that moment his mother maltreated him in every way.
One day a polar bear came to the hut and thrust his head right through the window. They were all very much frightened and the mother gave the boy his bow and arrows that he might kill the animal, which he did and the mother and sister then went out and took the carcass down and skinned it. She told the boy he had missed and told her daughter not to tell that the bear was dead, and she did not dare to disobey. The mother and the daughter ate the bear and had an ample supply of food, while the boy was almost starving. Sometimes, when the mother had gone away, the girl gave her brother something to eat, as she loved him dearly.
One day a loon flew over the hut and observing the poor blind boy it resolved to restore his eyesight. As he returned to the hut, he found the skin of the bear he had killed and he got very angry. His mother, who was anxious to conciliate him, tried to accommodate him with food and clothing, but he did not accept anything. The boy then made a spear and a harpoon and began to catch white whales. In a short time he had become an expert hunter.
By and by he thought of taking revenge on his mother. He said to his sister, “Mother abused me when I was blind and has maltreated you for pitying me; we will revenge ourselves on her.” The sister agreed and he planned a scheme for killing the mother.
One day he told his mother to go with him and hold his line. When they came to the beach he tied the rope round her body and asked her to keep a firm footing. She was rather anxious, as she had never done this before, and told him to harpoon a small dolphin, else she might not be able to resist the strong pull. When a huge animal rose quite near, he threw his harpoon, taking care not to kill it, and tossing his mother forward into the water cried out, “That is because you maltreated me; that is because you abused me.”
The white whale dragged the mother into the sea, and whenever she rose to the surface at the mouth of the river, she cried, “Louk! Louk!” and she had already turned into a narwhal with a long tusk. When she came up out of the water, rapids were forming in the river and because her hair was spread out in all its length, it began to twist around and around in corkscrew fashion. This is the reason why narwhal tusks are formed with a corkscrew twist and gradually she became transformed into a narwhal.