A lovely mural from the school in Aasiaat.
‘Public paintings’ have, for a while but even more recently, been relatively common in Greenland. Against the repetitive prefab houses and stark landscape they tend to stand out far more than in Western urban spaces. They really give energy into the community. They even have unveiling parties. Most of the time the kommune or whoever is organizing it engages local and national artists, and so it is interesting to see, a company in Nunavut exploring this same model on a larger scale.
This is part of a mural in Kuujjuaq, in Nunavik, designed and organized by Nuschool. While the mindset behind public art is often that it has to be fairly conservative and conformed to concrete ideas of what ‘art’ looks like, to if nothing else be accepted into the norm of urban space, Nuschool’s designs mix visual references of traditional images (as in Aasiaat) with street art, tattoos and trends in contemporary painting. So they do not only bring beauty and liveliness to urban spaces, but also a stronger creativity. And they give the people in these communities, especially the young, an added opportunity to see traditional forms and content reimagined, revitalized and as an active part of their lives. They likewise engage local artists, but on a much larger scale, and across Nunavut and Nunavik, wherever their commissions take them. They also produce advertising, web design, illustration and more. This type of dynamic creative company, that stays involved in its communities but is not stylistically isolated and conventional, is what’s needed more in the arctic.