‘Spirit Helpers’ by Kenojuak Ashevak, RCA, OC – Inuit Art – Cape Dorset 1989 print collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: The Inuit believed that all things — people, animals and forces of nature — had spirits. A shaman (healer) is a person who is in touch with the different worlds of the spirits. That is because most shamans believe there are more worlds than just the earth. An Inuit shaman is called an “angakkuq”. He is able to cure the sick. Angakkuit sometimes become shamans by first becoming sick themselves. While sick, they learn about life. Sometimes they have a vision. An angakkuq is even supposed to be able to tell what kind of weather is coming. Sometimes the angakkuit will use the spirits of the sea and land to help cure the sick. Inuit angakkuit wore a belt that was a symbol of their powers. They also used a drum that helped them contact the spirits.
Six angakkuit lived in sikuseelaq area and they had incantations and charms to attract favours and ward of illness, disaster and death. These charms and amulets made of ivory, bone, wood, skin or stone were imbued with magic and so transformed into objects on in beauty. (1)
Today, most Inuit are Christian, so the angakkuit are not as important as they once were. However, the Inuit still remember the songs and drums of the angakkuit.
(1) Cape Dorset Prints – A Retrospective. Leslie Boyd Ryan.