Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Reader's Diary #140- Nick Sikkuark: Book of Things You Will Never See (FINISHED)

Sometimes something is so bad that it has a certain appeal. It's why we have the Razzies. It's why the producers of "Snakes On A Plane" seem to be milking that angle. It's why you should find (if possible) a copy of Nick Sikkuark's Book of Things You Will Never See.

The title seems compelling, it was in the children's section, and I want to expose my children to the Inuit culture. So I thought this book was a safe bet.

The book is deranged.

There is no story, the text seems to be just a rough description of the art. The voice switches from first person singular ("I have dogs...") to plural ("we will tell you our secrets") and alternates back and forth. There are spelling mistakes. And it makes NO SENSE! I really wish I had a scanner so I could my point across. I'll just have to try my best to describe one particular page; The picture shows a large green bird with ears and a couple of red spider-esque sores. The bird is eating a fish as a man watches from behind a bank of snow. The accompanying text says,
"If you don't watch what is going around you, I'll eat you too! If you don't
listen to your boss, that is, I'll eat you..".

There isn't mention of a boss anywhere else in the book. It's a little crazy-scary. Like something a schizophrenic might produce.

But perhaps the most eyebrow raising scene shows an Inuk who has chopped his way down the length of the sea ice and along the way has axed through a seal, a dog, a sled and his igloo.
"What am I going to do? I just cut the ice in half, including a seal, my dog, my
sled, and my igloo!"

Yes, it's a real treasure trove of insanity. A great Christmas present for your stoner friends.

In Darlene Wight's Community Profiles, The Central Arctic, Inuit Art and Crafts she claims that his drawings are "richly varied in both style and content" and that his text is "philosophical and at times, poetic." Okay?

His drawings were imaginative, I'll give him that. And I'll also concede that looking at some of new work online, he's come a long way.

At the end of Book of Things You Will Never See, Sikkuark writes, "If you don't like this book, just throw it away in the wastebasket." I won't be doing that. It's so bad, it's good.


Robert Hiscock said...

I'd love to see it. It sounds perversely fantastic. I too am a fan of art that crosses the line from bad to so-bad it's good.

John Mutford said...

I wish I knew how to tell you to find it but there isn't even a ISBN number I can find. It was published by the NWT Dept. of Education (!). They really should reissue it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That sounds utterly creepy, but I can see the morbid fascination involved.

John Mutford said...

Some of his carvings can be classified as "creepy" as well- a lot of monsters and supernatural creatures. But on the plus side, they're certainly more interesting than the typical polar bear carvings.

John Mutford said...

Geez, I hate typos. I just reread this thing..."I could my point across". Frig those things are annoying.