As part of the MIA’s new fundraising initiative ‘Adopt an Object’, we’ll be highlighting a featured item from our Permanent Collection that staff have chosen to represent some of the unique pieces we display in the museum. For more information on the program itself and what it means to be a donor, you can check out our past blog post.
Today, we’re highlighting a staff favourite – Peggy Ekagina’s “Transforming Shaman”
Artist: Peggy Ekagina (1919 – 1992)
Location: Kuguktuk (Coppermine)
Date: c. 1970s
Dimensions (H x W x D): 9” x 14” x 4”
Collection: MIA Collection
Significance: Transforming Shaman highlights a major theme in art made by Inuit, which often depicts images of spirituality. Traditional Inuit spirituality incorporates ideas of animism; that is, that most everything has a spirit which is transferred or recycled, and as such many pieces of art depict scenes of transformation. In this piece the angukak or shaman is transforming into a muskox. This sculpture of a transformation has several unique aspects. The fact that the angukak is transforming into a land mammal is notable; the artist is showing the range of the role of the angukak through this piece as not being limited to interceding on behalf of Inuit with the sea goddess. Peggy’s decision not to incorporate human hands into the piece is also notable while many enthusiasts recognize the way in which most artists from the Kivalliq Region emphasize the hands as a symbol that the angukak is able to turn back into his/her human form, that tradition changes based on location.
Adoption Rate: $500
To adopt this piece, contact our curator Alysa at aprocida [at] miamuseum [dot] ca.
– Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer