Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“speaking in tongues”


As you may have noticed, I really like anything to do with shamanism—the idea of trances and transforming absolutely appeals to me. Sometimes I wish that I could transform like in this piece—just to be a bird in flight… that freedom of soaring.

With this piece I imagined a time of starvation. With no food, what would I do? I thought that I’d like to transform into an owl, as who else would have a better pair of eyes to look for game for you? So here I am in the process of transformation—my hands have become wings, my feet are becoming talons, my nose is starting to change… and my tongue is already a bird tongue. The ribs had to show the signs of starvation, which came from stories I have read about starvation. The idea of “speaking in tongues” came from readings about transformation, where the shaman is said to be “speaking in tongues”.

Michael Massie

Michael Massie


Inuit, Métis

Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

(1962- )

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.