Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 24, 2013 - 9:31 am

Nunavut arts centre advocates to hold summit in Iqaluit next month

Participants from around the territory will discuss creation of a performing arts centre

SAMANTHA DAWSON
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory (right), chair of the Qaggiavuut Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre, smiles while the Iqaluit band Koel and The Twin Otters play a set this past Nov. 22 at Qaggiavuut's annual general meeting at Inuksuk High School. (FILE PHOTO)
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory (right), chair of the Qaggiavuut Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre, smiles while the Iqaluit band Koel and The Twin Otters play a set this past Nov. 22 at Qaggiavuut's annual general meeting at Inuksuk High School. (FILE PHOTO)

The Qaggiavuut Society, which is working towards building a performing arts centre in Iqaluit, will host a summit Feb. 11 to Feb. 15 in Iqaluit to hold meetings, workshops, and public performances of storytelling, acting, drumming, dancing and singing, organizer Ellen Hamilton said.

The performing arts summit will bring together performers from around Nunavut to talk about the challenges they face, how to get paid, how to travel and tour, as well as how to tap into agents, managers and recordings.

“It’s not very often performing artists get an opportunity, because of the vast distances in the Arctic,” Hamilton said.

Another goal is to call attention to the need for a performing arts and culture centre.

At the summit, the visiting performers will put on workshops with the schools to transfer skills to youth and children.

That includes traditional Inuit drumming, songs, dances, story-telling and Inuit games.

“Inuit performing arts, they feel are at risk of being lost, including the western Arctic drum dance and song, oral story-telling and traditional music that is sung and drummed in Kivalliq and North Baffin,” Hamilton said.

In the mornings, consultations on the performing arts will take place “to get the opinions and ideas about why the performing arts are important and what performing artists around Nunavut need, and what are some of the issues they’d like us as a society to bring forward with them,” she said.

Hamilton said she hopes to include as many performers as possible.

“We are bringing quite a few elders as well, who are performing artists and we are hoping they will tell us, and give us ideas of how to preserve the art form so that it isn’t lost when they pass away,” she said.

After the workshops and consultations, they’ll hold a performance Feb. 14 at Inuksuk High School at 7 p.m.

The event will bring together different styles of Inuit drum dancing.

“The Inuit drum is the heart beat of our culture and brings us the stories and songs from our ancient past,” Qaggiavuut chairperson Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory said. 

But Iqaluit still needs a performing arts centre, Hamilton said.

“We’re the only capital city in Canada that doesn’t have a cultural performing arts centre. We believe there is a huge need…,” she said.

There are international performers who would like to come to Iqaluit.

“We believe it [the summit] is a really crucial first step because we’ve always been about starting our consultations with the artists,” she said.

The Qaggiavuut Society wants “our Nunavut artists to have their voice in place.”

The next step is a feasibility study.

“It wouldn’t necessarily be asking for public funding… everything points to this being a private fundraising venture that would be international in scope,” Hamilton said.

“There are funds in the world that are waiting for an Arctic performing arts centre,” she said.

The public is invited to attend consultations that will be held in the Baffin Room of the Frobisher Inn starting at 9 a.m.

 

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