A land full of deep traditions and rich cultures: a journalist finds an array of art, artists and warm hearts at Inuvik’s Great Northern Arts Festival.
In the heart of the Mackenzie Delta, under the Midnight Sun, Diane Dakers uncovers unique artistic traditions as intricate as the patterns in the landscape.
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Cultural traditions passed down over the generations amid hauntingly beautiful surroundings: the Great Northern Art Festival is the centre of a fascinating experience in the High Arctic.
A traditional blanket toss during Inuvik’s National Aboriginal Day celebrations.
The interior of Inuvik’s Community Greenhouse. The northernmost greenhouse in North America, it was built in an old hockey arena. “Because the ground is permafrost, you can't dig into it, so this is the only way to have a garden up here. It's an amazing idea. Some people are quite creative with their gardens.”
Inuvik’s famous “Igloo Church,” the Roman Catholic Our Lady of Victory.
Intricately detailed, hand-made clothing and crafts have been passed down from generation to generation.
“The Great Northern Art Festival is an amazing array. And because the artists are there working it just makes it so engaging.”
The art is reflected in the intricate patterns of the land: flying over the waterways of the Mackenzie Delta
Diane with the late Inuit carver Bernadette Saumik, who she met while volunteering at the Festival. “Bernadette was 72, in the carving tent with all the other carvers, who were a good 20 or 30 years younger than her. But she would sit on the floor and carve by hand. All around her were these young men with their power tools. And she was just using her hammer and her chisel. She was a highlight for me. And for many people. She was nominated by her peers, and won, an award for best carving and sculpture.”
High fashion in the high Arctic.