This sculpture represents my thoughts on the changes to our culture in the North. Our traditional Inuit way of life has been transformed by the values and excesses that have been introduced from the modern world in the South. I am depicting Sedna drowning as she is being dragged down by the weight of religion, money and liquor.
This sculpture is carved in a piece of fossilized woolly mammoth ivory gifted to me by a Siberian Inuit artist at ‘Circum-Arctic Art Show’, Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 2015. I have kept this tusk fragment to carve something special and I decided to make this into a personal statement of my concerns for the North and the loss of our cultural identity. Our ‘Inuit spirit’ being replaced by liquor spirits and Christian spirits!
This was a time-consuming piece to carve as I had initially intended to keep Sedna on a solid background but then I decided to carve out the separations behind her to represent kelp blades. I then took some time carving the fine detailing in her hair as she struggles being pulled down by the rope tied around her wrists. The nicks in the rope were very tricky to carve as I did not want to accidentally cut through and sever the rope. I also really wanted to highlight the beautiful grain in the ivory so I spent considerable time carefully polishing it to get this patina.
Billy was born on July 7, 1978, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. In his early years he travelled eastern Canada residing and schooling in Ottawa, Yarmouth and Halifax in Nova Scotia, then at the age of thirteen returned to live in Goose Bay. He now lives in North West River in Labrador and enjoys fishing and hunting on the land with his family.
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