Image: 15 1/4 ì x 23 1/2''

Paper: 23 3/4'' x 31 1/2''

The Sedna/ Taleelaiyuk festival, a ceremony that lasted for three days was held in southern Baffin Island in which the shamans looked to the mermaid Taleelaiyuk for promises and instructions. The first day, the chief shaman, the angakoq with the help of his assistant shamans would communicate with Taleelaiyuk, the deity who would release the living beings from the sea for food for the community. On the second day there were games and tests of strength including a kind of comic event where two masked men were dressed in bulging womenís clothes, oversized boots and carrying sealskin floats on their backs. The crowd would have screams of delight. They arranged the women in one line and the men in another and paired them off. The masks worn for this event often had tattoo marks, protruding facial features as well as one with as protrusion from the forehead echoing a penis. In continuation, the third day consisted of further celebration by feasting.

Sealskin masks were worn by the chief shaman and his assistants primarily for disguise, so that although they were known in the community it would change their appearance and distance them from the group. It was also a way of warding off any evil or bad spiritual influences.

The mask that Germaine has portrayed in her print was worn for the comic event as mentioned above with the protrusion in the forehead and the protruding mouth. She has chosen the dark background emphasizing the whole mystery of the seances conducted by the shamans at these ceremonies.

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