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Sharing the Good Food, 1999

David Ruben Piqtoukun
Canadian (Inuit), 1950
Brazilian soapstone (steatite) and metal (saw blade)
22 x 22.3 x 65 cm
Purchased 2001
National Gallery of Canada (no. 40504.1-6)
© David Ruben Piqtoukun

The "ulu", the woman's knife, was used for a hundred tasks. It was very useful and it became a symbol of sharing. The "ulu" has not been replaced by the outsiders' knives. We still share our food with everyone. - David Ruben Piqtoukun, 1996 In this sculptural representation of a piece of meat cut into six parts, the artist brings to life his thoughts on one of the enduring values of Inuit culture. Here, the "ulu" embedded in the last segment has become more symbolic than realistic - a piece cut from one of the artist's old saw blades stands in for the "woman's knife". This substitution adds another layer of meaning to the work. It was not long ago - when trade goods first came into the North - that "ulus" actually began to be made from old saw blades instead of chiselled stone.

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Canadian
Indigenous
Sculpture

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