We are more used to seeing this type of marine disaster imagery from Davidialuk’s cousin Joe Talirunili; Davidialuk himself preferred to carve legends and myths. Looking at this scene, we can’t help being reminded of Davidialuk’s carved depiction of the story of Alikammiq, the kayak hunter who drowned and miraculously revived three days later (see reference below). However, this work might illustrate something more personal, perhaps even an event in the artist’s own life. We recall a fascinating Umiaq Adventure by Davidialuk that did in fact relate just such an accident (see Walker’s May 2018, Lot 22). Davidialuk has imbued this kayak misadventure scene with a marvelous mix of realism, movement, a sense of urgency, and emotional intensity. We truly feel as if we are there.
Reference: for a possibly related work and story see Zebedee Nungak and Eugene Arima, Inuit Stories: Povungnituk (Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1988), pp. 94-95; also illustrated in Swinton (1972/92) figs. 363-364.