Magic Seal

Walrus Ivory, Baleen, Ink
Maple, Brass

“I’ve used ancestral imagery and forms in this piece. In our (Yupik and Inupiaq) stories, humans visit animals (who are all sentient beings) that live in the sea in houses, and remove their fur coats and appear as humans. Hence the “Yua” or man, as depicted in the carved face. The ribs are depicted by the red area, and is thought to portray shamanic vision. The baleen inlay represents the spine. The seal outline represents the Spirit of the Seals.

In our beliefs, a man and seal can have an ongoing relationship based on respect, where the seal, in each reincarnation, offers him/herself to the same hunter repeatedly.”

–Susie Silook