“When I have a chance and I have the materials on hand at the same time, I will add bone to stone and have them try to work together to make a piece. For some time I have had this piece of whale-bone in the studio — and while I had played with other pieces of stone to try this on, this particular rock worked the best. When I was first given this whale-bone, I had seen it as being a head right away. Later, when it came time to work with it in relation to the stone, I knew that I wanted to have two figures in there…but somehow have them be as one. At first, I thought of having a mother and a child in the bone, but wanted something different — and this is where I began to draw the shape of the stone and the bone on paper and work within the lines. It turned out that what I liked the most was the idea of using a seal and a woman together, and the idea I had was of a story-telling and the thoughts that come with story-telling.
“The seal is pondering the story of Sedna and trying to understand the whole idea of how she became a legend. As he sits on his rump and uses his flippers to hold him up, he listens and ponders. At the same time the Sedna is laying on her belly and knows that the main reason that all this pondering is happening is because of her and the story she has told.
“I wanted the overall shape to be the hood to her parka, while at the same time being the head of the seal — so when you look at the piece you can block out the heads of the seal to see Sedna better…and then block out Sedna to see the seal better. She has a floral pattern on her pelt/parka, one that was similar to the one she remembers wearing when she walked on the land.”
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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