Sedna

Sedna

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SEDNA - 6x6" mixed media on board.

This is Sedna, Inuit goddess of the sea. There are several versions of the Sedna legend originating in different regions. In each version, Sedna is a young woman who, through various paths, ends up at sea in a kayak, often with her father. In one story, she is overcome by hunger and attacks her mother and father. Her father rows her out to sea and throws her out of the kayak in anger. In another story, she is an innocent. Her father has rescued her from a bird creature, but he throws her overboard in desperation to save himself during a violent storm. In another story, she is an orphan who falls out of the kayak.

Sedna always clings to the kayak. Sometimes, her fingers freeze off. Sometimes, her father chops them off. Her fingers become seals, walruses, and whales. She always falls down into the depths of the seas. She grows a fish tail. She becomes the Mother of the Sea, and she rules over Adlivun, the Inuit underworld.

For this depiction of Sedna, I used a historical photograph titled ‘Inuit woman with a Braid’, taken in Alaska in 1904 by the Lomen Brothers. She looks to my eye to be a girl, rather than a woman. In my research, I discovered that Inuit women continue to adopt similar facial tattoos today.

For Sedna’s body tattoo, I was inspired by a print by Innuit artist Arreak Sakiasee.

Materials

Wood block, gold and black acrylic paint, pencil, ink, UV resistant acrylic coating.