The two pieces of stone were almost the same shape at the beginning — and seemed to be somehow related. I decided to play with this and keep them as one piece. Because each spirit has just one arm and both are up in the high-five motion, I at first was going to title this piece “high fiving spirits”, that is until my wife, Jo-Ann, came up with this title, and I like it more than mine.
I find the piece works much better with this name because they are like brothers — you can see the resemblance in each other. They do kind of look alike and that is something I also wanted to play with. Both have open mouths and each has five teeth. Then, of course, I had to have one of the spirits as an owl, as it just wouldn’t be like me if I didn’t have the owl image in there somewhere! The other figure has the spirit of a muskox, and because of that he had to have horns. When I added these horns it became apparent that I needed to add something to the owl spirit — and dressed it with a little moose hair, which added to the piece and balanced the two figures.
This work is about the similarities that we have with one another and how relationships form. We all have our beliefs about how things should be — and in life we tend to make friends with these who feel similar about things. These two spirits are simply happy to see one another again after such a long time — and going with today’s fads, the high-five motion seemed appropriate.
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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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