It’s interesting how an idea for a piece can come about. I am reading a book titled, - The Forgotten Labrador - which is about the the southern coast of Labrador and Quebec during the time when England and French Canada were setting up in these areas. It describes how life was at the time and the merchants and families in that area. To make a long story short, one evening when I was taking the time to read a few pages, I stopped and put the book down. with the cover up. For some reason the man shown on the cover made me think of the kakivak (the fish spear used by the Inuit when catching fish). The book has a fair amount about the fisheries at the time and I guess that’s why I thought of the kakivak, even though the kakivak is never mentioned.
Once I started thinking of it, I began to think of the hard times that fell upon the Inuit, as they relied solely on the environment they were in for food. I thought of how many other countries had been fishing off the Labrador coast unabated, and how much fish had been taken as they stripped the resource. I could go on about these topics but, my idea here was to show the kakivak in a stripped-down form…very simple and to the point. I made the outer tips of the spear different sizes to represent how things are getting worse, instead of better, as if disappearing. The etching on the body of the tea-pot, was deliberately made to be subtle, again, to show how the fish are being depleted and how there are still certain areas of our country that are losing a main food source.
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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