WHY IKPIARJUK (ARCTIC BAY)? In the winter of 2014-15, with the support of a grant from Fulbright Canada, I lived in Ikpiarjuk with a local family for the darkest months of the year. The experience resulted in a new interest in Arctic indigenous cultures and using photography to challenge stereotypes and explore anthropological themes in the Polar Regions. Moreover, I grew to love the community, and created lasting friendships in this remote and far-northern part of the world.
I believe that photography has the power to change people's perceptions of the world for the better. Sea Ice Stories is my way of making a positive contribution to the community and the way that the Arctic is visualized and understood by people elsewhere. Returning to Ikpiarjuk, for me, is an opportunity to bring my previous work in the Canadian Arctic full-circle, merging observations of the dark season together with those of the midnight sun.
As naturalist Barry Lopez writes of life in the Arctic, “one must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.”
DID YOU KNOW?
- In Canada’s High Arctic territory of Nunavut, the Inuit people have lived nomadically off of the land and sea for over 4,500 years, subsisting largely off of marine mammals.
- In other parts of the Circumpolar Arctic, indigenous transitions into Westernized lifestyles have occurred slowly, over centuries; in Nunavut, where the Inuit were forced to settle in communities as recently as the 1960s, this transition remains within living memory.
- Nunavut is the youngest territory in Canada, with a median age of 24 and a rapidly growing population that vastly outpaces available jobs, opportunities and housing. The communities of Nunavut today navigate dramatic cultural shifts between traditional hunting and fishing lifestyles of elders, and the modernized worldviews of young people growing up in overcrowded towns, with television and satellite Internet.