This may not look exactly like me, but it is a self-portrait! I can remember a moment in my past that has stuck with me all this time. It was a soccer game in school and I was about 11 or 12 years old. I remember noticing the people watching the game - and how that alone intimidated me, as it felt like everyone was staring at me and how uncomfortable this made me feel. At one point the soccer ball was kicked towards me and as it got closer the only thing I could think of doing was to put my hands up to stop the ball. Not a good idea, especially in soccer!
To this day I am uncomfortable if I take part in an event where there are people watching. Mind you, if it was Art-Making (and not Sports), I am much more comfortable. I think the reason is because I am more at ease when I am taking part in something that I am good at than when I am doing something that requires physical skills… such as sports.
This piece is about a game that requires physical strength. It is based on the Inuit Foot-Kicking game played across the north. Here the figure is seated on the floor and with his right hand on the floor and his left hand touching the foot that isn’t the one that will try to kick the seal. So he has to kick the seal with the foot that isn’t touched… and also land that foot on the floor before his rump does! Just with those instructions alone, I know I would have made a real fool of myself!
I gave the piece two faces, one on each side. The side with the two eyes is a representation of both me and the people watching (the top eye). They are staring at me as I’m about to kick. This side is me being very conscious of all the people as, from the corner of my eye, I notice them. The other side is me trying to concentrate on the task at hand and not the crowd of people.
For it is “a moment of awkward self-consciousness” - I feel everyone staring at me - and I just know that I am going to screw-up!!
Massie’s work is a reflection of his mixed Inuit, Métis and Scottish heritage. In it, he investigates both traditional and contemporary themes. He has achieved renown for his innovative teapots that combine themes and symbols from his native Inuit culture with European traditions. Massie has been twice short-listed for the coveted Prix Saidye Bronfman and has an extensive international reputation. His work has been shown in North America and Europe, including the National Gallery of Canada. He was elected a member of Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2011.
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