In partnership with the Embassy of Imagination, Square One showcased an art installation, displaying giant versions of beautiful prints created by Kinngait (Cape Dorset) youth. 

Partnership with Square One

We never would have thought to have an installation at a shopping centre. Director and General Manager, Greg Taylor, invited us to activate this space. It's great to engage the public in the artwork made by Kinngait youth, and reach a broad audience that perhaps does not know very much about Canada's north, or the incredible arts community of Kinngait (Cape Dorset, Nunavut). 

Director and General Manager, Greg Taylor, addresses event attendees and artists

Everything is expensive in the arctic and the geographic distance from larger hubs in the country means youth in Kinngait do not have equal access to art processes that interest them. It is a fly-in community of about 1400 people, and it does not have the same access to resources as we do in larger cities. Part of our role is to bridge that gap. EOI pushes the boundaries of what youth artwork can be, and what youth can achieve. Therefore our projects can be quite complicated and intensive.

Funding support is an ongoing reality of this work. This installation which invited the public to donate is a new approach for us. We are very appreciative of Square One and Oxford Properties Group for their support in creating this installation, as well as offering to match the public’s donation up to $10,000. This allowed the artwork to be framed and exhibited beautifully. 

Original linoleum carvings

Q&A with Founders, Alexa & Patrick

DESCRIBE THE ART INSTALLATION PROCESS 

The self-portraits were enlarged and reproduced on vinyl to create an impactful presence. To maintain the authenticity of the art exhibit, the original, handmade pieces were also included.

WHAT DOES ART MEAN TO THE COMMUNITY?

The works were exhibited for the first time last winter, after we wrapped up three months of workshops and our annual exhibition for the community. These works, alongside other fantastic artwork, were displayed in the Community Hall during a culminating celebration. I think the triumph and pride felt by the youth, their friends, and their families, resonates in this installation—the work is framed beautifully and the vinyl reproductions are done so impeccably.  This installation really emits the power of these creations. 

WHERE DO YOU ENVISION THE EMBASSY OF IMAGINATION IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS?

We envision a dedicated space for Embassy of Imagination (EOI) in the community to better support youth creativity. We see EOI becoming more and more collaborative at all levels of the projects, as youth that have been involved for years have more technical training and experience executing projects. The skills that youth acquire and the empowering experiences are pertinent to future endeavours. We look forward to seeing young people spearhead their own projects and have the conviction to cultivate their dreams. Finally, in the near future, we see EOI satellite projects going international!

Artists' self portraits

Q&A with Artist, Parr Josephee

HOW HAS YOUR WORK CHANGED OVER TIME?

PJ: I used to create more abstract patterns, but now, I’m doing more realistic work. I’m happy with this mural, especially because it's a way for me to remember my friends that motivated me and friends that I’ve lost. 

I started my brand Parrfect Skateboards this year! Now that I have a brand, I make hats, skateboards, socks, mugs, stickers, buttons, and keychains.  

WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR CREATIVITY?

JP: Alexa and Patrick, my friends, and family influences my creativity. Art is in my blood! My great grandfather who is my namesake, Parr, is one of the first graphic artists from Kinngait (Cape Dorset). My father is Isacci Etidloie, who was a well-known carver, and my grandfather Etulu Etidloie is also a carver and a musician.

WHAT IS YOUR ARTISTIC OUTLOOK ON LIFE?

JP: Art can be stress-relieving. Painting can be calming for me; I like to do it when I feel relaxed, so I can focus. Art has allowed me to travel and meet new people—I love to meet new people. I have more couches to sleep on around the world!

Some of the artists attend the Square One exhibition

The Artists

Tommy Quvianaqtuliaq, Latch Akesuk, Cie Taqiasuk, Holly Josephee, Josie Saila, Susie Saila,  Saaki Nuna, Kevin Allooloo, Salo Ivaluajuk, Ezeevalu Samayualie with Alexa Hatanaka, Joanasie Tunniillie, Salomonie Ashoona, Johnny Samayualie, Aoudi Qinnayuaq, and Parr Josephee

Flowers and cookies with artwork

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