SAKIASSIE RAGEE (1924-2003) m., KINNGAIT (CAPE DORSET)
Printmaker: EEGYVUDLUK POOTOOGOOK (1931-1999) m., KINNGAIT (CAPE DORSET)
Spirits at Play, 1961 #38
stencil, 33.25 x 12.25 in (84.5 x 31.1 cm)
Estimate: $1,500— $2,000
Private Collection, Australia.
The old way of drawing was very different. There was a lot of imagination then. Now, actual creatures and other things are drawn. I drew lots of subjects from traditional life. I also drew lots of things that are imaginary because I didn't know what to draw .
James Houston's odd drawing inspired by Northwest Coast totem poles in his 1951 instructional booklet Sanajasak: Eskimo Handicrafts (p. 11) spawned a brief flurry of totem-style carvings in the early 1950s. Interestingly, this charming image was possibly inspired by real totem poles! In the commentary for a drawing in the Strange Scenes catalogue, Sakiassie says, "Maybe when I was in the South [for TB treatment] I saw totem poles somewhere outside. I remember a feeling of awe when I first saw a totem pole. I couldn't imagine someone making something like that" .
1. The artist quoted in Jean Blodgett and Susan Gustavison, Strange Scenes: Early Cape Dorset Drawings (Kleinburg: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1993), p. 98.