Skeleton Woman & The Hunter

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These three illustrations using acrylics and mixed media are the first of an ongoing project belonging to key moments in the story of Skeleton Woman and The Hunter.

This ancient Inuit tale has the power to help us understand how our grief is also a healing power that can lead us to new life – it tells of a how a lonely hunter’s life becomes transformed in the most powerfully unexpected of ways.

While out in his kayak Hunter’s fishing line hooks what he at first believes to be a great catch, one that will feed his community for days – he imagines himself becoming elevated in stature by the people as a result, and hurredly reels in his line. His swelling pride is instantly replaced with shock and fear when the powerful skull of Skeleton Woman breaks the surface right next to his kayak!

Hunter flees as fast as he can, but, the monstrous jumble of bones he has pulled to the surface appears to have a life of its own and pursues him all the way into his igloo.

As he gathers his senses he realises that the bones belong to a person, and, feeling a tug in his heart, he arranges them until they are restored to human shape, layed out on the other side of his oil lamp.

Feeling overcome by the days events Hunter falls asleep wrapped in his furs and dreams – as he dreams a solitary tear emerges from the corner of his eye and Skeleton Woman awakens. She catches the tear and finds a gathering strength filling her – hearing the Hunter’s heart beating like a drum she finds a song emerging from within and sings herself back into the flesh.

When the Hunter awakens he finds himself in a loving embrace with the now full bodied Skeleton Woman – the jumble of bones he had unwittingly brought home are forgotten, as if in a dream – but, Hunter and the Skeleton Woman have their secret and live together, their past healed through love, for a very long time…..

Filled with rich imagery and conveying a poigniant message for our times, this tale has great depth and brings much inspiration, and I will be updating this article as new images appear…..

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