Bird Shaman, c. 1974
caribou antler, stone, caribou skin, metal
71 x 41 x 28.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; The Peter Millard Collection; Gift of Peter Millard
Carvers from Baker Lake usually create sculpture from the hard, local steatite stone, with the notable exception of Luke Iksiktaaryuk. He is known for his use of caribou antlers to create composite scenes, such as drum dances, as well as single figures of Inuit shamans in a seance. Since caribou shed their antlers each autumn, it is a material that can be obtained easily. However, it has limitations as a carving medium and has been used infrequently as the main material for sculptures. In the WAG work the naturally curved shape of the antler trunk has become the dynamic body of a shaman as it thrusts upward on curved wings. With economy of means, the artist has created a powerful image of soaring spirituality.