Untitled (Shaman With Spirits)
Condition: Repaired cut mostly visible in picture #3 located between right side hand and boot and above whale’s tail.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: Shaman centered and surrounded by whales, bird-people, and wolfs. The Shaman’s body is open ready to take on any form. This is very detailed embroidery that details even the whales’ breathing holes and eye-brows on all faces. Very powerful and impacting large piece on red background.
The presence of spirits of the air, water and land is significant in Inuit shamanism. In the traditional nomadic, hunting lifestyle, the shaman is the principal healer and visionary. A key to survival, the shaman is the intermediary between the Inuit people and the greater forces.
The Inuit believed in animism: all living and non-living things had a spirit. That included people, animals, inanimate objects, and forces of nature. Bad weather, illnesses, and a bad hunt were all blamed on displeased spirits. There were certain guidelines that the Inuit were supposed to follow to make the spirits happy. They had rituals for hunting and eating food to deal with the spirits that lived in the animals. The Inuit people did not eat sea mammal and land mammal meat at the same meal.
Inuit respect wolves for their hunting abilities, particularly their speed and endurance. If parents wanted their child to be a good caribou hunter, they would place on his ankle, or on his first footwear, an anklet made of the muscle fiber of the feet and lower leg of a wolf. This helped to ensure that he would be able to run with the speed, strength, and endurance of a wolf, ensuring that he would catch many caribou. When they had time to spare, both young and older Inuit often played the game amaruujaq, “the wolf game”, a version of “tag”.