Inuvik’s Great Northern Arts festival is back, kicking off four days showcasing and supporting the north’s finest artists tonight at 7 p.m. when the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers hit the Inuvik Performance Pavilion for the opening ceremony.

Ulukhaktok artist Mary K. Okheena was commissioned to do the 2021 Great Northern Arts Festivals’s poster art to interpret this year’s theme, Returning to Our Roots. The stencil print can be viewed in person around town. Photo courtesy Great Northern Arts Festival Society

With the theme of “Returning to Our Roots,” the festival will take a more artist-focused tone this year to be Covid-19 safe. From July 13 to 15, public sales of art will be held at the Midnight Sun Complex from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and evening performances will be held at under the big tent at Chief Jim Koe Park. The public art sale will be a stand-in for the public gallery normally set up at the curling, instead allowing people to purchase art from artists directly. There will be 27 artists from eight communities from across the Northwest Territories at the sale, as well as at the stone carver’s tent outside. The NWT ombudsperson, Colette Langlois, will also be present to meet with members of the public.

On top of that, internal seminars for attending artists will be held to help improve techniques, exchange ideas and network. Because of complications from the pandemic, there will be no art or artists from outside the NWT this year.

“Due to travel restrictions, it was not possible to invite artists and performers from outside the Territory in 2021,” explained GNAF executive director Dieter Weise. “Artists this year include jewellers, sewers, painters, macrame artists and more. The event’s poster features a specially commissioned drawing from Ulukhaktok artist Mary K. Okheena to interpret the theme, Returning To Our Roots.

“Performance highlights include a children’s show at the outdoor pavilion Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. by Yellowknife based singer-songwriter Miranda Currie, and a special 2-hour showcase of regional musicians hosted by Louie Goose Wednesday evening beginning at 7 p.m. The week’s activities conclude on Thursday, July 15 at 7 p.m. with the Arctic Fashion Show, also at the outdoor pavilion. This year’s show features pieces from the collection of Wrigley-based designer D’Arcy Moses, and many more new work from designers in the Inuvik region.”

Masks are recommended by not required while inside the complex, and people are also recommended to still remain at least six feet apart from people outside their households and social circles. There will be a maximum of 200 people allowed inside the artist market at any time, including staff, volunteers and artists. All patrons will need to enter through the main entrance of the Midnight Sun Complex and will need to register their name and phone number for the purposes of contact tracing.

View the schedule

Photo courtesy Great Northern Arts Festival Society

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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