I am proud to be rejoining Qaggiavuut in my capacity as Artistic Director and as a part of the new team of Senior Directors at the organization. This is an exciting time of change, alignment and strength.
As Artistic Director, I offer my skills, creativity, experience and networks to Qaggiavuut in order to give the organization an artistic structure, goal and field of exploration. As such, I am a multidisciplinary artist and encourage my fellow Inuit to see their own artistic practises as fluid, un-siloed and a source of self determination.
I am a Kalaaleq (Greenlandic Inuk) and performance artist, poet, actor, curator, storyteller and writer based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. I am a beneficiary of the Nunavut Act. I am known nationally and internationally for performing uaajeerneq, a Greenlandic mask dance that involves storytelling and centers three elements: fear, humour and sexuality.
For me uaajeerneq is a deeply personal and cultural challenge to find true expressions of oneself in an effort to decolonize. It is a fearsome, sexy clown act that comes from precolonial and postcolonial Greenland. It is an idiosyncratic study of boundaries for both performers and audiences, a celebration of body and flesh, a loving and respectful exploration of humanity and ferocious call to action. It is a performance that was handed down to me from my mother and other Inuit activist artists from Greenland’s movement to self government in the 1970s. Uaajeerneq is the cornerstone of my artistic practise – it gives me fodder to expand on, as well as confidence as an Inuk woman.
I have been privileged to work on creating an artistic practise that is centred on collaboration, a connection between my ancestors and my children and on my family life. I have been lucky to be acknowledged in the way I have been and I’m ever so grateful to be surrounded by those I love. Here are some of the recognitions I have been given over the past few years:
- co-winner of 2016 Arctic Inspiration Prize for the Qaggiq Project (group)
- Recipient of 2017 Indigenous Art Award, Hnatyshyn Foundation (individual)
- Inaugural winner of 2018 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Prize (individual)
- Co-winner Most Outstanding New Play 2018, Dora Mavor Moore Award for Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools (group)
- Best performer 2018, Toronto Theatre Critics Association (individual)
- 2020 Inaugural winner of Sinchi Indigenous Art Award (individual)
At Qaggiavuut in the next year, I have 4 main focuses:
- Collaborating with the new team of Senior Directors
The Board has created a new governance structure, new jobs and have hired new staff. I’m excited to build Inuit creative excellence with all my new colleagues
- Naujap Maninga programme
In collaboration with Qaujigiartiit, Qaggiavuut is a part of Nunavut’s first and only Network Environment of Indigenous Health Research. I will be leading research into what Inuit art means to Inuit artists, especially in the face of the pandemic. This will take place in the form of a series of home-based artist-in-residencies, where Inuit artists will be invited to create a project of their own in whatever genre or discipline they choose. I will also conduct interviews and surveys in collaboration with two emerging Inuit artists.
- Qaumma Project
I will continue to collaborate with Vinnie Karetak as he writes, directs and plans for the performance of a new play based on his family history and the inner strength Inuit women provide for their families in the face of colonial violence. Qaggiavuut got funding for this project from the memorial programme for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Children and LGTBQ2S+ Individuals run by Women and Gender Equality Canada. The Qaumma Project is the only such project funded in Nunavut and the only artistic project in Canada.
- Looking for new funding for new artistic projects and further networking
During the course of the year, our team will discover how to further support Inuit artists, find new projects and new sources of funding. I will continue to look for both opportunities and funding for Inuit artists and our work at Qaggiavuut. We would like to strengthen our ties to other Nunavut and Canadian arts organizations that work with Inuit artists and the performing arts in other Inuit regions such as Nunavik, Northwest Territories, Alaska and Greenland.