• Feature

Linking the Land, Sea and Air in Inuit Sculpture and Poetry

Sculpting the Verse

Apr 30, 2021
by Napatsi Folger

ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᑦ ᐱᓪᓚᕆᐅᑎᒋᔪᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓴᓇᖑᐊᒐᖏᑦᑎᑐᑦ, ᑖᓐᓇ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᒃᓴᖅ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᓂᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑲᐅᓯᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐊᔾᔨᖃᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᓴᓇᖑᐊᓂᒃ, ᑖᒃᑯᐊ ᓂᕈᐊᖅᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ ᖃᓄᖅ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᑦ ᐃᒃᐱᒋᑦᑎᐊᕆᐊᖃᕐᓂᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ.

In recognition of storytelling as an integral part of Inuit art, this Portfolio features pairings of Inuktitut poems with stone sculptures, chosen to encapsulate the feeling of each poem.

ᐱᓯᖓ ᐅᕙᕝᓄᒃ
Untitled III
by Uvavnuk

ᐳᒃᑕᔪᑐᑦ ᑰᒃᑯᑦ

ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᖅ ᐊᓄᕆᕐᔪᐊᕐᓗ
ᑎᒃᑕᐅᓚᖓ ᐅᖓᓯᒃᑐᒧᑦ
ᐃᓗᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᖁᕕᐊᓪᓚᖓ


Ningeosiak Ashoona
Transformation (n.d) Stone 20.9 x 7.6 x 19.1 cm
REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS COURTESY COASTAL PEOPLES GALLERY © NINGEOSIAK ASHOONA ᓂᖏᐅᑦᓯᐊᖅ ᐊᓲᓇ ᐊᓯᔾᔩᓂᖅ (n.d.) ᐅᒃᑯᓯᒃᓴᖅ 20.9 x 7.6 x 19.1 ᓴᓐᑕᒦᑕ ᓴᓇᔭᐅᒃᑲᓐᓂᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᐱᕆᓚᐅᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᑐᐊᓯᑦ ᓴᓇᖑᐊᒐᖃᕐᕕᐊᓂᑦ ᑐᓂᔭᐅᔪᖅ COASTAL PEOPLES ᓴᓇᖑᐊᒐᖃᕐᕕᐊᓂᑦ © ᓂᖏᐅᑦᓯᐊᖅ ᐊᓲᓇ


ᐅᕙᕝᓄᒃ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᓂᖓ ᓄᓇᒥᐅᑕᕐᓂᒃ ᐃᒻᒥᓂᒃ ᐊᖏᓂᖅᓴᐅᑎᖦᖢᓂᒋᑦ ᑕᕝᕙᓂ ᑎᑎᕋᒻᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᒥᑦ. ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᐊᒥᓱᐃᖏᒃᑲᓗᐊᖅᖢᓂ ᖃᓄᖅ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ ᓄᓇ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᒪᖅ ᐃᒻᒥᓐᓄᑦ ᐱᐅᒻᒪᕆᖕᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ. ᑕᕝᕙᓂ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᕐᒥᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᓂᖅ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᐅᓯᒪᕗᖅ ᐱᐅᒻᒪᕆᖕᓂᖓᓂᒃ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᒪᖅ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᓄᕆ ᐊᐅᓚᑎᑦᑎᕗᖅ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᒥᒃ. ᓂᖏᐅᑦᓯᐊᖅ ᐊᓲᓇᐅᑉ ᐅᓂᒃᑲᐅᓯᕆᔭᖓᓂᒃ (n.d.), ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ ᐅᒃᑯᓯᒃᓴᐃᑦ ᓇᓗᓇᐃᖅᓯᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᐊᕐᓇᖅ ᑎᖕᒥᐊᖑᔪᖅ, ᐃᖃᓘᓐᓗᓂᓗ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓅᓪᓗᓂ. ᓄᓇᒥᐅᑕᐅᔪᖅ, ᑕᕆᐅᕐᒥᐅᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂᓗ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓯᓚᒥᐅᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ. ᑖᓐᓇ ᓴᓇᖑᐊᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᓂᕈᐊᖅᑕᐅᓚᐅᕆᕗᖅ ᓲᖃᐃᒻᒪ ᑖᓐᓇ ᐊᕐᓇᖅ ᓰᖅᑯᒥᐊᖅᑐᖅ, ᖁᔭᓕᓪᓗᓂᓗ ᓄᓇᒥᑦ, ᐃᑲᔪᖃᑦᑕᕐᒪᒍ ᐃᓅᑎᑦᑎᓂᖓᓂᒃ. ᐊᑐᓂ ᐆᒪᔪᑦ ᐃᒻᒥᓂᖔᕐᒪᑕ ᖁᕕᐊᓲᑎᒋᓪᓗᓂᒋᓪᓗ.

Uvavnuk speaks of all the natural things greater than herself in this untitled piece. It takes only a few words to express the grandiosity of the earth and water that fill her to the core with joy. Movement is central in this poem, and water and wind move the speaker gently and smoothly through the world.

In Ning Ashoona’s Transformation, the dark stone depicts a woman who is simultaneously, bird, fish and human. She is of the land, sea and air in one body. This sculpture was also chosen because of the woman kneeling in a kind of reverential position, giving thanks to the land that sustains her. Each creature within her emanates the joy that nature brings to her.  

Find more poetry and sculpture pairings:

Michael Massie and Martha Nasook

Tegoodligak, Pierre Aupilardjuk and Leo Napayok

Tegoodligak and Osuitok Ipeelee   

This Feature was first published in the Spring 2021 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.

ᐃᓕᓴᐱ ᖁᓚᐅᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᓕᖅᑎᑕᖓ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᑎᑐᓕᖅᑎᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᔭᐃᐱᑎ ᐊᕐᓇᑲᒃᒧᑦ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᑎᑑᓕᖅᑎᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᐋᖅᑭᒃᓱᖅᑕᐅᔪᑦ ᒪᓂᑲ ᐃᑦᑐᒃᓵᕐᔪᐊᕐᒧᑦ

Translation by Elizabeth Qulaut. Poems translated by Jaypeetee Arnakak. Translations edited by Monica Ittusardjuat. 


This series was made possible with the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council.

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