Bear In Shamanic Transformation (continued)

On August 8, 1968 I managed an airline ticket to Edmonton, Alberta with $10 in my wallet and a pocket "full of dreams". I ventured out into the world at age 18, no clue about the ways of the world or where to begin my journey. In 1972 I ended up in Vancouver, British Columbia, after wandering around in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. I worked on the oil fields as a "Roughneck" and general labourer. My shortest job lasted 15 minutes. I was not capable of holding any job and was fired, more often than not, in short order.

In Vancouver, my brother Abraham came to visit me for a short period of time and introduced me to what he had been studying in Fairbanks, Alaska. He introduced me to stone carving. I was fascinated and I enjoyed the feel and texture of the stone at all its stages in carving. Soon after that brief session and some basic lessons he left British Columbia and I was on my own. For that introduction however, I am forever grateful to my brother, Abraham Apakark Anghik Ruben!

Stone carving appealed to me and I made my first few rough looking carvings which I sold. I believe that I made fifty six dollars. This was to be the beginning of a lifelong quest. Forty three years later I am still fascinated by all the varieties of carving and sculpting material at my disposal. Through stone carving I am getting "an education in remembering". I have continued to travel to various parts of the High Arctic but especially my hometown, Paulatuk. I will always continue to collect stories and learn more about Shamanism and Inuit mythology. That is the source of my motivation and creative endeavours. That is the source of my fascination and inspiration.

Bear in Shamanlc Transformation – 1991.

This stone sculpture I completed at a time when my personal life was collapsing. Mentally, emotionally, physically and financially, I was totally spent. I was a troubled Inuk. I endured borderline homelessness, with nowhere to turn and a questionable future to contend with. Creating this work was my only lifeline to maintaining my sanity. The Bear-Man in our Inuit mythology is symbolic of "Spiritual and Physical Power" that humans lack in times of personal weakness. I needed to survive at all costs and this sculpture concept was something I needed to create and to understand its true meaning.

The image is that of a standing bear that looks human and is in the process of transformation. The Bear-Man has been summoned by elders of a remote village in the high arctic. People have been stricken by illness, disease, and famine. The staples of the Inuit life, caribou, fish, geese and seals have mysteriously disappeared. The Shaman's responsibility is to find the source and origin of this dilemma. The Bear-Man is one of the most powerful Shaman in Inuit existence and is capable of tackling impossible feats. The Shaman within a short period of time finds the cause of the problems the people are facing. A number of taboos have occurred and or have been broken by the villagers. When taboos are broken, on purpose or by accident, the outcome is predictable and that is the reason why many lives were put in jeopardy. People live and learn from their mistakes. Life is restored and all the living resources for their survival return. In my case, I allowed my ego to consume my existence. That is the cause of my broken taboo! We all have "Spirit-Helpers" to assist us in our troubled periods of life. Do not be afraid to ask for help! lt is vitally important to understand what or who is your Spirit-Helper.

David Ruben Piqtoukun, Sculptor/Artist

David explains the background during an interview for Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Collection d'art inuit Brousseau. It can be found as a video on the Media page.

Updates & News

28 January, 2019
Dancing On The Moon, limited edition bronze, added to Current Works.
23 December, 2018
Hooloaq and Angatkroq added to Current Works. Updates to Resources: Exhibitions, Publications, Other References.
24 July, 2018
Assisting Arctic Migration and Angatroq added to Current Works. Both works are unavailable.
7 October, 2017
Spirit of Inua added under Works For Sale. Additional pieces added to Current Works.
10 January, 2017
Sculptures currently available for sale now have a gallery "Works for Sale".
26 December, 2016
The galleries of sculptures through the years are organized by decades, staring with the 1970's
21 November, 2016
The website is introduced with a new look. Additional features to aid collectors interested in David Ruben works will be added in the near future.
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