Shaman's Message by Abraham Anghik Ruben

Year
2011
Medium
Soapstone
Size
20.5 × 8.5 × 8 inches
52.1 × 21.6 × 20.3 cm
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About the Work

Carved in green Brazilian soapstone flecked lightly in black, brown and white, the figure of an elderly hooded woman genuflects. Her hands meet in front and her eyes are closed in contemplation. Incised lines and the shape of the hood reference animals integral to the life of the Inuit in the North. Carved openings in the composition of the coat and body allow light to pass through the sculpture giving it an ethereal quality that belies the weight of the soapstone. A precursor to this work, A Study for Shaman's Message III, was exhibited in Arctic Journeys, Ancient Memories: Sculpture by Abraham Anghik Ruben organized by the Smithsonian Institution, Arctic Studies Center in 2012. Abraham’s own great-grandparents, noted shamans Apakark and Kagun came from the Bering Sea region of Alaska. His mother was a shaman. "My mother was given initiations at an early age and they became an integral part of her entire life. She was able to integrate the best of her shamanic upbringing with the best that Christianity had to offer to her life and circumstances."

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