Inuvik artists are getting the chance to broadcast their work on an out-of-this-world canvas.

Students turn their gaze skyward as an antenna at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility moves earlier this month. With the launch of an art contest, one of four antennas at the site will soon will be getting a makeover. Winning submissions will be applied to the antenna’s dish – broadcasting brush strokes on an extra large canvas to promote Northern art. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

The Great Northern Arts Festival Society has teamed up with Natural Resources Canada to launch the Satellite Antenna Dish Art Search, calling on creatively-inclined residents to transform a transmitter of celestial data into a beacon for Northern art.

The contest, which kicked off on Nov. 29, asks area artists to submit unique pieces reflecting the culture and heritage of Inuvik. The winning submission will be enlarged, made into a skin and applied onto the surface of one of the four antennas hosted and operated by NRCan at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for someone here who can take a lot of pride in knowing they have a beautiful piece of art … displayed in such a significant way,” said Great Northern Arts Festival Society’s executive director Marie Horstead.

The size, prominence and location of the antenna, Horstead said, will make the would-be winner’s visual ode to Inuvik hard to miss – and that’s just what the festival and NRCan want in their bid to promote the region’s rich art scene.

While the contest is still in its infancy, Horstead told News/North she’s anticipating an outpouring of original creations.

“I’m hoping to see something that surprises me,” she said. “It would be great to see something created by an Indigenous youth or elder that reflects a modern Indigenous experience.”

Submissions are limited to people living in Inuvik, but interested artists who’ve left their hometown to pursue school or other endeavors are still eligible to leave their mark in a lasting way.

Once a stand-out piece of art is selected and mounted atop the antenna, Horstead said she’d like to see a different kind of signal dished out – one that’s transmitted to the art world and the world at large.

“What I’m hoping is that we can contribute to the artistic landscape in new and interesting ways,” she said, adding that the eye-catching addition aims to encourage initiatives and corporations to see the benefit in showcasing art from a region they have investments in.

But with microcosms of art hubs scattered across the North, what makes Inuvik’s artistic exports stand out? For Horstead, it’s not just about the the art itself, its about the symbiotic relationship between art and life.

“One of the wonderful things up here is that art is just integrated into the way of life,” she said. “There’s much less a distinction of who’s an artist and who lives an artistic life. The talent is amazing because there’s a support network and an inter-generational mentorship.”

The deadline for submissions is Dec.11. Artworks should be a minimum of 36 ” by 36 ” and 120 dpi. Artists must include their name and a short paragraph about themselves.

Brendan Burke

As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility...

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