KIAWAK ASHOONA O.C., R.C.A. (1933-2014)
Private Collection, California
“The story of Natturalik related the well-known Inuit legend of a young woman who was abducted by an eagle and taken to the bird’s nesting area on the top of a high cliff. The girl became the eagle’s wife, but she eventually escaped. She secretly saved the skins of animals the eagle brought to her for food and wove them into a long rope that enabled her to climb down the cliff to supposed safety... The girl tried to escape from Natturalik by boat with her father, but the eagle causes a terrible storm. To save himself, the father throws his daughter into the waves...where she sinks to the bottom and lives on as the powerful sea spirit (Sedna)”
It is confirmed by the artist himself that his bird spirits are in fact depictions of Natturalik, a name that translates as Golden Eagle in Inuktitut. The powerful bird is often portrayed eating prey, as in this lot, perhaps devouring the head of Sedna’s father.
Marie Routledge & Darlene Coward Wight, Kiugak Ashoona: Stories and Imaginings from Cape Dorset, 2010, pages 114-116