Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
June 25, 2024   1:49 pm NL Time

Standin’ on the Dock

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Standin’ on the Dock


Status of Original Painting – Sold

All prices are in Canadian dollars

Size: 13 x 18 inches

Price: $1,500

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb d’Arches

This commissioned painting is of Battle Harbour in Labrador. It’s a former fishing community that was established in the 1770s. For a time it was a thriving economic and social centre that earned the name “capital of Labrador.” But after a devastating fire in the 1950s and the decline of the fishery, the community was resettled elsewhere. Today Battle Harbour is a summer fishing station and tourist attraction. Many of its historic buildings have been restored in order to commemorate what life was like in the 1800s and 1900s.

The name “Battle Harbour” has uncertain origins. The more dramatic source of the name comes from the story that the Montagnais Indians, aided by the French, fought the Inuit in a final battle at this location. Calvin J. Poole’s 1996 book Catucto describes that the Inuit name for this place was Catucto, and that name is thought to have derived from either the Inuit words katukto (“falling down”) or tuktok (“deer or caribou”). Katukto could certainly be applied to a place where many fell in battle, while the word tuktok might imply a place where the hunting for deer and caribou was especially good.

The more mundane explanation is that the name may derive from batal, a Portugese word for boat. Portugese place and family names are common throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

I’d originally thought of calling this “Standin” on the Dock of the Baiee but I think when an attempted pun draws only “huh”? reactions, it’s best avoided. So I kept the shorter version above.

Thanks to Leslie Rourke whose original photo was used as the reference for this painting.

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