A giant wall mural by Arctic artists finally got underway in Canada’s largest city of Toronto on Thursday.
Artists Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka have long travelled to, and worked in, Canada’s North. But it was spending time in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, an Inuit community famous for its carvers and printmakers, that they got the idea for the mural project.
“We got to know quite a few young artists that got our attention and showed enthusiasm,” Thompson said over the phone from Ottawa this week. “The art classes in the school weren’t really functioning at the time so it was perfect timing that we developed this program.”
Thompson and Hatanaka received grants from places like the Canada Council for the Arts, Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association, Street Art Toronto, Mural Routes and Heritage Canada, in order to bring four young artists from the community to Toronto.
The mural’s design was a result of collaboration between the Nunavut artists during drawing workshops in Cape Dorset. Each contributed drawings that ended up being combined into the mural’s finished image.
Searching for wall space
As if bringing four Arctic artists over 2000 kilometres south to work on the two-week project wasn’t daunting enough, a last minute hiccup left organizers scrambling for new wall space.
“We were basically hung out to dry and had to quickly scramble,” Thompson said.
But a call out to Toronto turned up a new space and now all should go as planned. Preparation on the wall started Thursday night and the mural is slated for completion around July 15th.
“Toronto has an opportunity to see something they’ve never seen before,” said Thompson. “And start thinking about where these voices come from.”
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Feature Interview – Arctic hamlet drives cultural centre campaign, 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