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Bird Human Transformation

Published onSep 15, 2022
Bird Human Transformation

Bird Human Transformation, 1990s

Kenojuak Ashevak (Inuit, 1927–2013)

Ink and color pencil on paper

Gift of John L. and Ethel Margaret Gillmor Bohan. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.



Kenojuak Ashevak was an Inuit artist in Arctic Canada. Many of her works of art feature imagery from the ecology of Cape Dorset, as well as traditional belief systems of the Inuit people. The theme of transformation of the human form is frequently depicted in Inuit art as seen in other works of art in the exhibition. In Inuit culture, shamans were given the power to transform, transitioning between human and animal forms. In this image, a disembodied head rests on a bird-like claw, as the human’s nose elongates into a beak. How does the addition of bird-like features communicate a sense of power to the viewer?


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