Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“shape-shifting shaman”


After a trip to Ottawa where we had the opportunity to sit and listen to some of the old stories, I was especially interested in one story of a shaman that was wrestling with spirits. Here the shaman is showing us his ability to transform from one animal spirit to another. There are three aspects to this piece—the owl, the walrus, and the shaman. The shaman’s connection to the human world is shown by the left eye still in its proper position in the head, and by the left arm, which is still covered by the parka. The right eye of the shaman is positioned on the top of the head more like the walrus.

This is a powerful shaman, with this tremendous ability to move from one form to another—and here he is moving from the walrus to the owl—so he is powerful in both the sea and the sky.

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.