Nanook - a Bear drawings exhibit

The bear is the animal who looks like most the Inuit people, taking place at the top of the animal hierarchy. Like the Inuit, the polar bear is a hunter, wich implies relations of rivalry and competition: they both hunt the same game and represent a threat to each other.


A marine and land mammal at the same time, the bear is cunning, powerful and comfortable in both water or land. We say that humans imitate the polar bear’s way of hunting. It is not rare to find bears near villages while they look for food and their strength inspires fear and respect.

Consequently, it is not surprising that the polar bear is so present in the cosmology. He appears as one in the main sources of shaman power by taking place between the invisible powers and the Inuit society. So, shamans often used of bone or ivory amulets representing polar bears. Today, polar bears are one of the most represented subjects by Inuit artists, thus coming within the tradition.