“After staring at this piece of stone for a few days I began to see a man sitting with his left leg outstretched and his right leg bent as if he were about to get up. At first I wasn’t sure what he would have in his hands … and going through the thought process … of possibly a drum and drum stick … NO! A kakivik and a knife … NO! So I began to draw, and it wasn’t until the next day — while sitting drinking tea and looking over the piece, that I decided to have spirits, one in each hand. The first image that came to my mind was a piece that I did of a mother owl with two small spirits coming out from her back (Sorry, but I can’t remember the title to that piece!). I didn’t want the two spirits in this one to be as plain as those were, so I decided to add feet, as this would also help with the sense of movement … as if they are trying to get away from the man.
“I had written out a number of titles for this piece as I was working on it — and ended up using this one — because it better suits the piece. The struggle is pretty much the struggle we all have in life. We all struggle with our decisions, actions and thoughts, and sometimes these can get away from us. We struggle to hold our emotions, trying not to let them get away from us, but sometimes they do … and we end up paying the consequences. From the look on this man’s face, he certainly don’t want them to get away!”
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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