Birgit Freybe Bateman
Bowhead Whale Skull (Print)
Archival Giclee printing on Hahnemuehle Photo Daguerre canvas (on stretcher) with thin black wooden frame
43" x 30" / 109.22cm x 76.20cm
Framed Price (Canadian Dollar): $1,400.00
To purchase this, or any other work of art, please contact us by phone or email.
A larger print of 55" x 38" is available for $1,800 framed.
We were near the end of a stimulating birding trip organized by Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. The trip had started in Hokkaido, Japan, to view the wintering Red-crowned Cranes, then we cruised up the Kamchatka Peninsula aboard the World Discoverer landing periodically to explore the landscape and look for birds, then crossed over the Bering Strait to the Pribiloff Islands and finally had landed at Gambel on St. Lawrence Island. Due to the community’s isolation, the economy of these Inuit is based largely on traditional subsistence harvest from the sea. As we wandered between the buildings of the small community, we saw much evidence of walrus heads, sealskins, drying fish and bones everywhere. At the edge of the village I noticed this impressive skull that had been carefully propped up. It was a bowhead whale skull and as such is a species at risk. This hunt is very small and carefully managed. To me it was a memorial to all that had been done to this magnificent creature and wildlife in general over centuries and specifically to this mammal, although I had the feeling that nothing was being wasted in this community. The surface of the bone, the linear fissures and the dark hollows of the skull held a strange beauty and were reminiscent of etchings or lithographs. Although this image could easily be shown as a black and white photograph, it was the hint of pale green lichens that suggested life and the warm rust, beige and blue-grey hues of the pebbles that convinced me to photograph it in colour. The pebbles added small oval shapes and different textures to the image.