The Coming and Going of the Shaman, c. 1973
Canadian (Inuit), 1940
whalebone, antler, and stone
38.5 x 27 x 29.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 35877.1-5)
© Public Trustee of Nunavut. Estate of Karoo Ashevak
Using the form of mother and child as a visual metaphor, Karoo depicts an initiation process - the transference of power from shaman to apprentice. As often is the case in his work, Karoo focuses on hands and face. The porous whale bone used for the woman/shaman's face - suggest decay, the waning of power and contrasts with the denser bone used for the younger, emerging apprentice.