Lot 220
NIVIAXIE (1908-1959), E7-1077, Cape Dorset

POLAR BEAR AND CUB IN ICE, sealskin print, 1959, 17/30,
12.01" x 22.01"
30.50 x 55.90
Cape Dorset

Est. $25000/35000
Realised: Please contact us for the value of this item
Auction Date: 11/09/2009

Note: “ The Bear Hunt. Three months ago Niviaksiak and a young companion were tracking a bear. After several hours they finally caught sight of him. As they crept closer, the bear, instead of running, turned and gazed squarely at them. Niviaksiak moved in, raised his rifle to fire, then faltered and shrieked: “It’s dark. I’m falling!” Without firing, he collapsed on the snow, died within minutes. The next day, when Niviaksiak’s companion and others returned to bury him, they found his body unmauled; the bear had not even come near him. Among Cape Dorset people there was only one explanation: Niviaksiak’s art had probed too near, had offended the spirit of the great polar bear. Today half of Cape Dorset’s income derives from the sale of art works. This is just the way Jim Houston intended it. Not even Cape Dorset will remain inviolate forever; sooner or later it will be drawn into the modern world where other Eskimos have fared so poorly. Says Houston: “Their art is the one thing than can preserve their pride in their Eskimo identity. So long as their art remains true and vital and coveted by the outside world, they will be saved from hopeless apathy in the face of the onslaught of the almighty kadluna [white man]. After they learn to cope with their new world, their art may die. All I ask is that it will then have served its purpose.” excerpt from, Time Magazine article, Feb. 22, 1960

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