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i u a pi pu pa ti tu ta ki ku ka gi gu ga mi mu ma ni nu na si su sa li lu la ji ju ja vi vu va ri ru ra qi qu qa ngi ngu nga lhi lhu lha

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Manasie Akpaliapik, ᒪᓇᓯ ᐊᐸᓕᐊᐱ



bone, horn, stone, 1988

12.25" x 10.25" x 5" — 31.1 x 26 x 12.7 cm.

Images Art Gallery, Toronto
Private collection, Toronto

Franz Boas, “Sedna and the Fulmar”, from “The Central Eskimo” from Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, 1888, p.409-669 (1888), 1964, p. 583ff.

Charles Moore, Keeveeok, Awake! (Ring House Gallery, Edmonton, AB) p. 9-10

Darlene Wight, Manasie: The Art of Manasie Akpaliapik (The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB), 1990, unpaginated

Accounts of the origins of the sea goddess differentiate throughout the arctic regions. 

Franz Boas tells of Senda’s origins as a mortal girl that would not marry and whose “father [cut] off her fingers, which [were] transformed into whales, seals, and ground seals.”  Here, Manasie depicts the sea goddess with rounded hands, an important continuity with the myth.  The base is in the shape of a seal flipper to further the link to the creation of sea animals. 

Charles Moore tells of how the Shaman must transform to swim down and appease the sea goddess.  In this version, Moore tells that when Sedna’s head is filled with lice and her hair entangled, the currents of the sea itself are impeded. In angry response, she withholds the release of the sea mammals, the sustenance of life to the humans above.  A shaman is sent to placate Sedna by delousing and braiding her hair.

Of works of a similar subject by Manasie, Darlene Coward Wight comments, “Most often he communicates with the sea goddess, Taleelayuk (or Sedna) - part woman, part fish - who is the guardian and controller of animals.”  Wight continues, “Manasie’s works interact and, at times, explode into their environment.”  In this work, the composite figure seems to interact with the tangible environment. Sedna’s wild hair flows back as she plunges into watery isolation.

Estimate: $1,000—1,500

Auction Results

Auction Date Auction House Lot # Low Est High Est Sold Price
2016-06-02 Waddington's 260 1,000 1,500 1,200.00

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