Artworks and Artists
Owl and Ptarmigan

Owl and Ptarmigan,
Goose, Agnes Nanogak
colour stencil on mulberry paper
46.6 x 72 cm


Nanogak has written and illustrated several books of traditional stories. One of her favourite subjects is the courtship of the owl and the ptarmigan:

Ukpik (variously ookpik, opik), the big owl of the Arctic desert, was in love with Aqilgieq, the little white ptarmigan. However Aqilgieq already had a husband whom she loved very much. In a fit of jealousy, Ukpik killed his rival and began to woo Aqilgieq in the hope of winning her heart. But the little ptarmigan cried for her dead husband; she did not love her new suitor and began to sing a song of ridicule ... Ukpik, who thought himself handsome, became angry and wanted to shame Aqilgieq in return and so he sang: “Eater of owls! Bah! I shall leave you!” So saying, he flew away.