“Since I picked up the book Inuit Stories of Povungnituk, I have become even more fascinated with the stories of the North. This piece was started back in 1996, while I was teaching jewelry and stone carving in Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland. I was using this piece as a demo for the students and from the beginning I could see a polar bear or an old woman in the stone. The stone sat in my studio for years waiting to be finished. After further looking and thinking, it came to me that I could combine the idea of both in the story of the old lady who killed a bear [with her mitt] that I had read in that book (ref: Inuit Stories of Povungnituk, story 28, page 107-109). I have noticed that so many pieces based on the story show the old lady struggling with the bear. I did not want to do that but wanted to capture the moment when the old lady and the bear meet each other. She is thinking, as her mind races, about what is the best solution to her dilemma. Here she is switching the cane from one hand to the other and getting ready to remove her mitt. It is the moment before the confrontation.”
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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