|A recurring theme found throughout Inuit Art is that of human to animal transformation. The shaman, or witchdoctor, had magical powers. If he needed to appease the spirits, he would meet with them in another form, that of an animal or bird. If he needed to be strong, he would transform into a polar bear or muskox. If he was meeting with sea gods then it would have to be a walrus or seal, and if he had to travel a great distance he would need to become a bird. In times of great need, such as depicted in this fine sculpture, the shaman would have to summon the spirits of several different animals and birds.
Among the most important of Ohito‚Äôs works are those deeply rooted in his respect and understanding of the Inuit culture, mythology and shamanism. As a grandson of one of the great shamans, Ohito grew up listening about magical powers employed by shamans to interact between people and supernatural forces governing the nature and the animal world.
Ohito Ashoona has captured the essence of not only the spiritual intricacies of shamanism, but the craftsmanship of a masterful Inuit artist. In the likeness of his grandfather Kiawak's acclaimed style, the shaman transformation contains no awkwardness; rather it is a richly defined expression of the vibrant and passionate carver. A rarity in his repertoire, Ohito has truly animated his talent.