LUKE IKSIKTAARYUK (1909-1977)
Private Collection, Hamilton, Ontario
Upstairs Gallery, Winnipeg
Harold Seidelman & James Turner, The Inuit Imagination: Arctic Myth and Sculpture, 1993, p. 208-211
Luke Iksiktaaryuk possessed a unique carving style that was simple yet very expressive. His human figures, mostly carved from caribou antler, depicted Inuit life and legends.
Iksiktaaryuk was part of the Harvaqtormiut people who moved to Baker Lake in the 1950’s during a time of starvation. It is not arbitrary that he chose to work with caribou antler; after enduring seasons of famine when the caribou were scarce, the antler was a symbol of birth and regeneration to him.
Shaman Prepares to Fly is a subject that he chose more than once. It represents the courageous flight of the shaman into the spirit world, perhaps in search of other spirits for guidance. Shamans had the ability to fly in many forms and for many reasons, possibly the most enticing, as Jean Blodgett suggests, was "the shamanic journeys that were undertaken for joy alone”.