Feature Interview: Canadian artist explores Greenland’s past

Hvalsey Church, Greenland. (Courtesy Jessica Auer)
Hvalsey Church restoration in Greenland. (Courtesy Jessica Auer)
The Saga Lands exhibit in Gaspe, Quebec. (Courtesy Jessica Auer)
Short film "Still Ruins, Moving Stones" shown in an old bunker. (Courtesy Jessica Auer)
Short film "Still Ruins, Moving Stones" being shown in Gaspe. (Courtesy Jessica Auer)
Visual artist Jessica Auer. (Courtesy Jessica Auer)
Jessica Auer, a Canadian visual artist based in Montreal, Quebec, still remembers the first time she visited L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Canada’s Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The site is famous in Canada for showing evidence of Viking settlement from over 1000 years ago.

“These traces that I was witnessing were so subtle but at the same time, very enigmatic,” Auer said. “I became really curious about it, curious enough to go and actually  investigate this myself.”

Art project

Auer, also a photography instructor at Concordia University in Montreal, set out over a number of years to photograph Norse sites throughout Scandinavia.

Her series of photographs, titled Saga Lands is now on display at the Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie, a international exhibit focusing on photography.

Also showing is her video Still Ruins, Moving Stones  filmed in Greenland while archaeologists worked on an old Norse site.

Feature Interview
To find out more, Eye on the Arctic spoke with Jessica Auer about her projects, Viking history and what exhibits like these can bring to an audience:

The trailer for “Still Ruins, Moving Stones”:

Still Ruins, Moving Stones, 2 min excerpt from Jessica Auer on Vimeo

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

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian polar photographer: Arctic change is a “wake-up” call, Radio Canada International

Finland: Heritage hunting in Finnish forests, Yle News

Norway:  History revealed by WW2 wrecks in Norway’s Arctic fjords, Barents Observer

Russia:  Photographing Arctic water creatures, Alaska Dispatch News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a 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 violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

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

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."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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