Feature Interview: Arctic hamlet drives cultural centre campaign

Image of the new Kenojuak Centre. (www.kenojuakcentre.ca)
Image of the new Kenojuak Centre. (www.kenojuakcentre.ca)
 Kinngait Studios is legendary in Canadian art circles.

It’s housed in the small, ramshackle couple of buildings that stand across from each other in the Arctic Canadian community of Cape Dorset. A place where renowned artists and printmakers like Kenojuak Ashevak and Pudlo Pudlat honed their craft.

But despite the historic significance, the art community has grown out of this space and is in the midst of campaign to raise money for a new cultural centre that would offer more space, exhibition areas and attract more visitors to the community.

“It would really help the artists here, the print makers and the carvers,” says Cape Dorset mayor Palaya Qiatsuq. “This has been long overdue.”

Want to see what it is actually like in the old Kinngait Studios? Printer Niveaksie Quvianaqtuliaq gave Eye on the Arctic a tour in 2010:

‘We’re getting close’

The new Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop will measure 10,440 square feet and will receive federal and territorial funding. The community itself hopes to generate an additional $3-million for the project, said Qiatsuq.

To date, they’ve raised $1.4 million. The centre’s grand opening is scheduled for April 2017.

“We have a lot of good people here on the fundraising committee and a lot of people are involved,” said Qiatsuq. “Cape Dorset is really interested in getting a culture centre here. We want to make it happen and we’re getting really close to it. ”

To find out more, Eye on the Arctic spoke to Cape Dorset mayor Palaya Qiatsuq for an update on the project and what it means to the community:

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Spotlight – Montreal, Canada exhibit focuses on art by Inuit women, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Karelian art on show in Russia, Yle News

Finland: London gallery offers multimedia Sámi art, Yle News

Sweden:  Swedish Sámi visual artist shaping climate changes, Radio Sweden

United States:  Feature Interview – Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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