MARY YUUSIPIK SINGAQTI (1936-2017) QAMANI'TUAQ (BAKER LAKE)
Standing Bird, c. early 1980s
stone, 8.75 x 4.75 x 4.5 in (22.2 x 12.1 x 11.4 cm)
Estimate: $1,800— $2,800
Marion Scott Gallery;
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection, Toronto.
Mary Yuusipik was one of Oonark's eight surviving and artistically talented children. Best known for her beautiful wall hangings, she actually began her artistic career as a carver in 1964, and produced a small body of detailed and sensitive drawings as well .
Birds are found in many of Yuusipik's wall hangings and drawings, either as primary or secondary subjects, but carved depictions are not common. Yuusipik rarely represented supernatural themes in any medium, but interestingly, both this Standing Bird and a smaller Bird Spirit with Faces from the early 1970s combine bird and human elements , albeit it in different ways. With Standing Bird the effect is rather subtle, achieved through the figure's human-like legs and overall posture. The figure's ever-so-slight air of pomposity is quite amusing; we feel as if we are about to hear a lecture or long-winded speech!
1. A catalogued exhibition of Yuusipik's art - comprising primarily drawings but also some sculptures and wall hangings - was organized by Darlene Coward Wight at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2018.
2. See Walker's Auctions, May 2013, Lot 1.
References: Darlene Coward Wight, Mary Yuusipik Singaqti: Back River Memories (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2018). This catalogue illustrates five of Yuusipik's sculptures.