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Art of the parkNWT artists capture the beauty of the Yukon's Ivvavik National Park in Inuvik exhibit
Northern News Services
Published Monday, March 15, 2010
That's when Northern Images gallery is exhibiting almost 50 artworks composed by two dozen artists who recently visited Ivvavik National Park in the Northern part of the territory.
"The exhibit is a collaboration with Parks Canada to preserve the cultural heritage of the North," said gallery manager Maria Stella Patera.
The artists, who come from around the North, across Canada and beyond, created the works as part of Artists in the Park, a Parks Canada program that has organized five excursions to the park since 2003.
"These artists documented a traditional Inuvialuit environment and we are making their artworks available to the people of Inuvik," said Ifan Thomas, Superintendent for the Western Arctic Field Unit for Parks Canada.
Founded in 1974 by provisions of the Inuvialuit Final Land Claims Agreement, the park protects a portion of the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. Tens of thousands of caribou traverse the park to calve or to migrate into Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge along the Beaufort Sea. It is also home to grizzlies, muskoxen, dall sheep, wolves, moose, wolverines, red and arctic foxes and even polar bear sometimes venture near the coast on occasion. There are grayling and char in the Firth River and peregrine falcons, golden eagles and other bird species in the sky.
Justice Thomas Berger once referred to it as "a place of beauty equaled by few others on the earth."
Inuvik painter Cheryl Kaglik has visited the park twice with the program.
Kaglik explored the region around the British Mountains and the confluence of the Firth River and Sheep Creek for 10 days in July, 2007, and again for eight days in July, 2008.
The 30-year-old Inuvialuit artist recalled filling pages of her coil-bound sketch pad while peering across the land or examining wildflowers under the bright summer sun until 1 or 2 a.m., then rising again to paint by 10:30 a.m. the next day. Sometimes she took a break from her art to hike in the hills.
She created about 25 works in the park and another half dozen after returning home. She has since donated some to community fundraisers and the Great Northern Arts Festival. Five of her pastel and acrylic paintings will go on display at Northern Images on March 20.
Kaglik, who is a self-taught painter, said the experience of sharing company with other professional artists in such an inspiring setting has had a big impact on her work.
"It was awesome to interact with other artists and get their feedback," she said.
During her two visits to the park, Kaglik was accompanied by artists Anny Illisiak of Paulatuk, Allen Egan of Ottawa, Calgary-based Inuvialuit artist Penny Chase, Yukon artists Lillian Lapenon and Joyce Majinski, Rae Braden of Yellowknife and Inuvik textile artist Carolyn Hunter.
"During the time I spent in Ivvavik I was able to connect to my surroundings and experience the Park in a very intense and personal way," Hunter wrote in the exhibit catalog. "It was an experience that I will never forget as it continues to provide me with inspiration today."
The exhibit runs in Inuvuk until April 9. It reopens at the Northern Images gallery in Yellowknife from April 30 to March 21, and then continues on to the Northern Images gallery in Churchill, Man., on July 1 in celebration of Canada Day.