“Shaman Making Peace with Sedna” by Manasie Akpaliapik

By: Palmer Jarvis

Lot 216 – Manasie Akpaliapik ᒪᓇᓯ ᐊᐸᓕᐊᐱ (b. 1955), Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), SHAMAN MAKING PEACE WITH SEDNA, 1995; stone, whalebone, signed in syllabics; dated; old label affixed to the underside of the base reading “Manasie Akpaliapik / Arctic Bay / Shaman making peace with Sedna / serpentine (stone)”. 23 x 12 x 6 in — 58.4 x 30.5 x 15.2 cm. Estimate $5,000-$7,000

There are many versions of the story of Sedna, and many names for the life-giving creature whose severed fingers became the bounty of the sea, and whose true name, it is said, is unwise to speak.

In 1989 Manasie Akpaliapik embarked on a trip to Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay) to learn drum dancing, kayak making, and to collect stories told by community elders. (1) In the years following, Manasie produced many of his best-known and most remarkable works. In the 1990s Manasie’s sculptural insights have, in the words of George Swinton, made “Manasie the contemporary Inuit artist par excellence.” (2)

In Shaman Making Peace with Sedna, Manasie depicts the placative act of the shaman in the aftermath of the sometimes vengeful, sometimes grieving father’s act of severing the clinging fingers of his daughter, who had been grasping the outside gunnel of their boat.

On one upper side of the sculpture is the father’s dispassionate face, on the lower portion of the other is the abandoned Sedna plunged into the sea. Without fingers, Sedna’s hair is tangled and knotted, and it is a shaman in the form of a comb who soothes the distraught Sedna by straightening her tangled hair. The form of the comb in Manasie’s sculpture references an ancient Dorset culture comb found in Maxwell Bay and in the collection of the Canadian Museum of History. (3)

The sculpture’s base is made from the Ikpiarjuk stone so often associated with the work of the artist’s grandmother Paniluk.


Waddington’s is pleased to present our major spring auction of exceptional Inuit & First Nations Art online May 24-29, 2024. Important artworks include sculpture and graphics by Karoo Ashevak, Jessie Oonark, Kiakshuk, John Pangnark, Pauta Saila, Aisa Qupirualu Alasua, Parr, Osuitok Ipeelee, Kiugak Ashoona, Joe Talirunili, John Kavik, Kenojuak Ashevak, Johnny Inukpuk, Thomas Ugjuk, Ennutsiak, Davidialuk Alasua Amittu, Beau Dick, Charlie James, David Ruben Piqtoukun, Abraham Apakark Anghik, Manasie Akpaliapik, Judas Ullulaq, Barnabus Arnasungaaq, and John Tiktak.

View the online gallery.

Previews will be available at our Toronto gallery, located at 275 King Street East, Second Floor, Toronto:

Thursday, May 23 from 10 am to 5 pm
Friday, May 24 from 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday, May 25 from 12 pm to 4 pm
Sunday, May 26 from 12 pm to 4 pm
Monday, May 27 from 10 am to 5 pm
Tuesday, May 28 from 10 am to 5 pm
Or by appointment.

Please contact us for more information.

(1) Claire Keating, “Inuit Master Works By Manasie Akpaliapik,” Claire Keating Authorised Representative, pamphlet, 1999.
(2) George Swinton, “The Art of Manasie Akpaliapik: A Review Essay,” Inuit Art Quarterly. Spring 1991, vol. 6 no. 2. p. 42-45.
(3) James Houston, George Swinton and William E. Taylor Jr., Sculpture/Inuit (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971), 54.

Many countries prohibit or restrict importation or exportation of property containing ivory, whale bone, sealskin, and/or products derived from other endangered or protected species, and require special licenses or permits in order to import or export such property. It is the responsibility of the buyer to ensure that the item is properly and lawfully exported / imported. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists for further details.

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