This piece of anhydrite stone was gifted to me by Labrador artist Michael Massie. I wanted to carve a portrait of a beautiful woman in her amouti hood wearing traditional tattoos. I have seen these tattoos in old photos of our Labrador Inuit women, with one line on the cheek, three to four lines on the chin and V forms on the forehead.
I had initially wanted to inlay baleen in the stone for the tattoos. I tried inlaying a piece in the face but I was not happy with the look. I found the black lines distracting to the eye and too dark contrasting with the light stone colour. I preferred to carve the tattoos into the face as this creates a more subtle shadowing on her face and seemed to work better with the shadows cast around the face when framed by the hood.
To me she seemed so gentle and serene and that she reminded me of the Madonna.
Billy was born on July 7, 1978, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. In his early years he travelled eastern Canada residing and schooling in Ottawa, Yarmouth and Halifax in Nova Scotia, then at the age of thirteen returned to live in Goose Bay. He now lives in North West River in Labrador and enjoys fishing and hunting on the land with his family.
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