“The opportunity to learn the stories of the Inuit legends is a large part of why I make what I do. I have a fascination with the Sedna (Sea goddess) legend and have heard and read that there are particular things that one should know when making a Sedna piece. One thing is her hair — I have been told that when Sedna has her hair down, the creatures are loose in the sea and there are plenty for the people. When her hair is up however, this means that she is holding the creatures close while waiting for the people to obey the rules of hunting, family, and others. When people are not taking heed of the mentioned rules, she will hold the creatures and the people will go hungry. When people have been going without food or heat for long periods of time, a shaman is sent to comb her hair and release the creatures, making them plentiful for the people on the land.
“In this piece, I have her hair in braids… and this means the creatures are remaining next to Sedna, as she is not quite ready to release them. However, if you look at her face, you will see that she has a slight smile on her face — giving the impression that the creatures will soon be released.”
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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