Canadian (Inuit), 1940
whalebone and black stone ?
41 x 44.2 x 10.5 cm
Gift of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1989 (Gift of John and Judy McGrath, 1984)
National Gallery of Canada (no. 36203)
© Public Trustee of Nunavut. Estate of Karoo Ashevak
Sometimes I make figures with funny faces or scary faces that I see in my dreams. Sometimes I carve faces of spirits from old Eskimo stories. They scare me too.
-Karoo Ashevak, New York, 1973
Karoo's distortion of features and imaginative use of whale bone helped define the so-called expressionistic style of the Kitikmeot (Central Arctic) region. The different shapes of the eyes, signifying exceptional sight, and the mittened hand, a symbol of magical ability, suggest that this figure may be a shaman.