Bird Transformation

Cape Dorset
Stone, antler
H 30.5cm



Some of the most creative Inuit sculptures are based on transformation, the concept that the shaman could transform into any number of different land or sea animals. In this sculpture, Shaa has combined many different elements in a composition which ows around the entire sculpture. Seen from the front, a human face is dominated by a walrus/bird transformation; only his arm holding the knife remains of his human form. The bird on his side leads the viewer aroundthe sculpture to find another human face again dominated by the wings of the walrus/ bird. Exquisitely carved, the details of the face, the sharp wing tips and open mouth of the bird are all captured in a dynamic yet balanced composition.

Qikiqtaaluk/ Baffin Region:
The primary art producing community in Nunavut is Kinngait (Cape Dorset). Located on the south west coast of Baffin Island, artists in Kinngaitdeveloped a distinctive style which ranged from lyrical to astonishingly intricate compositions. Blessed with quarries of beautiful veined stone ranging from white to dark green, artists could develop virtuoso carving techniques. Unlike the more narrative works from Nunavik, subject matter in this region tends to be more fantastic, featuring both traditional myths,individual flights of fantasy or abstracted form in order to achieve a more expressive work of art. Other settlements in the Baffin Region are also known for their fine sculptures; this collection includes works from Kimmirut, Iqaluit and Pangnirtung in southern Ba n Island as well as thenorthern hamlet of Clyde River.