Heyoka’s Workbench


Sometime in the mid-90s, I got my hands on a large book about modern art by the native peoples of Canada. My old passion for the North-American Indians had just flared up again …

The book was deeply impressing. What I saw had a similar effect on me like when I discovered surrealistic literature: it was mesmerising and widened my notion of what art can do by not reproducing the perceptible.

One photo that I could never forget showed a sculpture by an Inuit artist. It was made from walrus ivory or bone – and looked like having jumped right out of a dream.

I never found the book again and cannot even remember its title. But I always remembered this sculpture (and one painting, too). Dwelling on the polar region, these days, they came into my mind again and I started to search the web for them.

I found them. The sculpture was made by Karoo Ashevak. Seeing it again, even though only as a photo, was a magic moment.

(Another artist whose works fascinated me is Thomassie Kudluk. And as for the painting I mentioned above – there will be more on it in another article.)

Drawing “Nunavut”