Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“mask #1: prosperity”


I so much enjoy my time spent looking through books on African Art. I have found so many similarities with the African design forms I see and those of the Inuit from Alaska. What caught my eye this time were the ones with rings or bands around them. These rings seemed to take on the appearance of halos, much like the European paintings of the 14th and 15th century, where gold-leaf was added around the heads of Jesus and Mary. Here I used brass rings instead of gold because of their similarities in colour… for me they become glowing rings of happiness.

I have been told that the more ulus (the curved flensing blade) a woman had, the wealthier the family is, because of the amount of food the man brings home. Years ago in the north, wealth was measured by the amount of food, clothing and tools a family possessed.

The tattooed face is that of a strong woman, one who has seen a great deal of work and hardship in her day. The tattoo is a reminder of her strength and determination.

—Michael Massie

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.