By Andrea OttDid you know that Nunavut is the only territory or province in Canada without a performing arts centre and Iqaluit is the only capital city in North America without a space to present performing arts? Even so, I recently found out that Nunavut is rich in Inuit performing arts – from throat singing to original rap, storytelling to circus, button accordion to drum dancing. Many of the Inuit performing arts were banished by missionaries during the past century and are only now being retrieved before they are lost to us all.
I met with several members of the Qaggiavuut! Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre. I was so inspired by their ideas for sharing and developing performing arts for their communities, and the way they explore both traditional and modern formats. For them, preserving traditional Inuit performing arts and creating new work is important because it enables Inuit creative cultural expression, builds community and preserves culture including the Inuit language Inuktitut. Their goal is to be the beacon of arts and culture for the entire circumpolar world, share Inuit arts and culture throughout Canada and the world and provide both healing and inspiration to the people of the North.
They shared with me news of the first flash mob in Nunavut, at the airport in Iqaluit, which took place in April 2012. The artists completely took over the airport at the busiest hour of the day and then later that night took over the closing ceremonies of Iqaluit’s spring festival. Great fun! View here: