In the latter stages of being at home with my parents, I remember decorating my small bedroom floor-to-ceiling pictures of the peoples of the world. I would contemplate their world to my limited capacity, but was always very intrigued by every aspect of their life depicted in the photographs.Since then, travel and living in faroff places has since been very much a part of my life, mostly due to my journey as a member of the global Bahá’í community with its emphasis on serving all peoples. So in 2005 when my husband and I had the chance to live for three months in Cape Dorset, a small Inuk settlement off the southwestern tip of Baffin Island in Nunavut, I felt very privileged to have this opportunity. We have since been back to visit other communities in Nunavut: Iqualuit, Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake.In Cape Dorset, I found my ‘painting voice’ almost from day one! The Inuit, the landscape, the hikes across the tundra with Kristina my Finnish friend married to a local Inuk, the multi-coloured rocks, the precious hardy little arctic flowers that appeared everywhere as the summer wore on, the sky, the arctic animal bones cleaned and bleached by time were all treasures that contributed to the art that now flowed from my brush.
So in doing the December window art display at the Seaway News I wanted to share some of the Inuit culture and images with Cornwall. For instance, the larger summer amauti was given to me by a carver and his family and had belonged to their daughter, whereas the smaller amauti (for a doll) I made during a sewing class given by some of the woman elders in the community, who made me sew the hood three times to get it exactly right! They said that if the clothing of the Inuit was incorrectly put together, the harsh climate could end up costing them their lives. The ulu (a women’s cutting tool) was given in trade for a painting I did for an Inuk lady who had been recently widowed. Many of the small carvings were sold to me by young Inuit men who were just starting out with their craft and who would approach me in the street and shyly ask me whether I would like to buy them.
The books are part of our collection that describe the many aspects of Inuit life.
I have recently been able to sell my art cards to a gallery, museum and department store in Iqualuit, which was wonderful.
I would like to thank the Seaway News for giving artists this opportunity to show their work, and to Jacquie Milner for organizing the flow of artists!!