NELSON TAKKIRUQ (1930-), E4-120, Gjoa Haven / Uqsuqtuuq
MOTHER AND CHILD
stone, ivory, wood, bone
signed in syllabics and dated 1987
13 x 8 x 4 in — 33 x 20.3 x 10.2 cm
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Takkiruq was the brother of the famous Gjoa Haven sculptor Judas Ullulaq. The two brothers shared a sense of humour and positive attitude. Takkiruq’s figures typically are less likely to truly be full of angst, even if the style of their faces suggests just that. This work might be an exception.
Although identified simply as a Mother and Child, the imagery suggests that something less straightforward might be happening here. First, the woman seems to be wielding the harpoon hunter more in self-defense than in a hunting stance; the configuration of the harpoon itself is also unusual. Second and more importantly, the child’s face emerging from the woman’s hood is quite unsettling. We wonder if the woman might in fact be defending herself and her child from an evil spirit. Assuming that the face at back is actually her child’s…
References: for a selection of other works by Takkiruq see Darlene Coward Wight, Art & Expression of the Netsilik (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2000), pp. 148-151. See also Ingo Hessel, Arctic Spirit (Heard Museum, 2006) cat. 109.
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