When you think of the arts, what’s the first place that leaps to mind?
Places like Paris, New York, and Berlin are seen as the centre of the art world—but when it comes to creating art, remote Baffin Island, Nunavut, holds its own.
The communities of Pangnirtung, Kinngait (Cape Dorset), and the territorial capital Iqaluit with its many galleries are havens for gifted artists. Their world-renowned tapestries, limited edition prints, and soapstone carvings have put South Baffin on the map for many collectors and aficionados around the globe.
Combining contemporary technique and approach with traditional influence and values, the artists of South Baffin play an important role as ambassadors for the Arctic, its extraordinary landscapes and wildlife, and the very dynamic culture of the Inuit people.
Art and culture expert Carol Heppenstall has been guiding tours to Baffin Island for two decades. Here’s how she describes the experience:
Twenty one years ago I was asked to plan an arts tour to one of Canada’s most prolific locations – Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. The Inuit had been making “art” as we southerners define it for over 45 years in communities such as Iqaluit, Pangnirtung and Cape Dorset (now Kinngait). Here was an opportunity to visit these artists in their own communities and watch the creative process first hand. Those beautiful soapstone carvings, wool tapestries and limited edition prints all had their inspirational source in the land of the midnight sun. I am privileged to return to this, my first endeavor with the “Art is Adventure” programs. While a younger generation of artists has replaced those first elders I knew, the process of personal expression continues.
South Baffin draws art collectors, adventure travellers, bird watchers, animal lovers and Canadians passionate about our northern heritage. Summer is an ideal time to visit, as the days will be long, the sun high and bright, flowers blooming, birds on the wing and flowers on the move.
New York? Old hat. When it comes to art, South Baffin is a hot spot.