Teachers Lesson Plans

Contemporary Inuit Sculpture

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Natar Ungalaq, Sedna with a Hair Brush, 1985, and Charlie Inukpuk, The Woman Who Killed a Bear with a Mitten, 1977

Legends are like history books that tell us about the past and the beliefs of the Inuit. The stories depicted in the works of Natar Ungalaq and Charlie Inukpuk are based on legends about women. In the first one, Sedna is rather sullen. Her hair dishevelled, she sits impatiently, holding a hairbrush, and the look on her face shows that she does not like to be kept waiting. The rounded forms of Sedna with a Hair Brush and the absence of detail are in contrast to the work by Inukpuk, for whom detail is important. There is no fear in the face of The Woman Who Killed a Bear with a Mitten. Rather, it shows determination and wisdom, exemplified by the wrinkles etched over the years. The bear, on the other hand, is caught by surprise and afraid of this strong, persistent woman. In both works, the artist has depicted a woman who is determined to get what she wants.