Canadian, b. 1955
Shaman Summoning Taleelayuk to Release Animals, 1989
whale bone, narwhal ivory
43.7 x 40.2 x 27.8 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc.
Manasie Akpaliapik is a talented drum dancer as well as sculptor, and his interest in traditional songs is evident in many of his sculptures. In this whale bone work, an Inuit shaman sings a magic song to communicate with the powerful female sea spirit Taleelayuk. She controlled the game animals and withheld them from hunters if there was a breach of any taboo. In times of starvation, the Inuit shaman would call upon the sea spirit to uncover the source of her anger. The shaman had to appease Taleelayuk before animals would be released for the hunt. In this sculpture, the freed animals twist outward along five finger-like projections of outer narwhal tusk.