My Daily Art

Luke Iksiktaaryuk. Bird Shaman, 1974. caribou antler, stone, caribou skin, metal, 71 x 41 x 28.5 cm. G-89-179 a-d.

Since it’s my birthday today, I thought I would share a personal story.

Museum directors sometimes ask each other – which artwork would you grab if there was a fire in your museum. Well, actually there are several at the WAG but one stands out for me these days: “Bird Shaman” by Luke Iksiktaaryuk (1909-1977), an Inuit carver from Baker Lake in Nunavut.

With economy of means, the artist has created the body of the shaman from the naturally curved shape of the antler trunk. Transformed, it soars upward on curved wings as a singular force.

A few years ago, when I participated in the Getty Museum Leadership Institute in LA, we were asked to present one artwork that inspired and uplifted us. I chose this piece – and just shy of 1 metre in height, I can still carry it.

While the WAG is temporarily closed, your collection is still here for you. Stay connected with the art through daily posts from our Director & CEO, Dr. Stephen Borys.

This is a series of daily posts that will continue until the Gallery reopens. Follow along on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, or visit our stories section.

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3 responses to “My Daily Art”

  1. Ruth Swan says:

    I love this piece also. Transformation from human to bird or animal spirits was part of Inuit spirituality. It would allow a shaman to space travel. This is a beautiful carving made of antler – should I assume it is caribou? Baker Lake is an interior village. I took a course on Inuit Art from Sheila Butler. She and her husband had spent time in Baker Lake with the local Inuit – I think they were teaching art techniques – not sure if it was print-making. She was very knowledgeable about Inuit Art. – Ruth Swan

  2. Julie Diakiw says:

    Thank you Stephen for the ‘Daily Art’ discussions. I am preparing myself for the re-opening of the gallery with stories of these installation pieces and their creators, both as a member and a volunteer. This is such a positive opportunity. But I am left curious for which other pieces you would take if leaving the building in a hurry!!

    • Winnipeg Art Gallery says:

      Thank you for these kind words Julie! We’re glad you’re enjoying the My Daily Art series!

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