Detail of painting by Mike Kristiansen. The painting is exhibited as part of Tupilappassuit.
Before Christianity was introduced, and for a while after it was introduced, Greenlanders and other Inuit societies believed in different spirits, good and bad. One of them was one you could conjure up yourself. The tupilak (pronounced dubilack). You would need pieces of human as well as animal carcasses, that you would put together to create a creature. You would then give it life through your genitals. This was a bad spirit, you would use to get revenge or to hurt someone - kill someone. However, if you don’t make your tupilak strong enough, your enemy could win over your tupilak. If that happened, your tupilak would come back and kill you instead. Therefore, if you are using this method of revenge, you would have to be absolutely sure your tupilak will be strong enough. When whale fishers and other ships from Europe began a more steady travel around the Greenlandic coastline, they asked to see these tupilaks. Greenlanders began making figurines for them, and today the figurines are quite different and mostly sold as souvenirs, or a piece of home decor, or used in different ways in art and design. Hence the exhibition Tupilappassuit (many tupilaks).
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The exhibition is sponsored by Royal Arctic Line, Tips og Lottomidlerne and Sermeqpuljen.