Carvers create local landmark in Nunavut fishing community
Artists carving giant monument to local fishery in Pangnirtung
Article by: SARAH ROGERS
Originally published at Nunantsiaq Online
Master carver Jaco Ishulutaq works on a giant granite boulder July 29 which will serve as a local art landmark and a monument to Pangnirtung’s turbot fishery. (PHOTO BY DAVID KILABUK)
Under sunny skies, clouds, wind and the watch of community members, a group of Pangnirtung carvers have been busy transforming a boulder into a work of art.
Eight young carvers have been hired in the Baffin community to work under the mentorship of master carver Jaco Ishulutaq this summer, to turn a giant rock canvas into a monument to the community’s turbot fishing industry.
As part of its plan to do more community-based art installations, the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association is leading the project.
“The project has a few goals. One is beautification,” said NACA’s Justin Ford. “Another is to create a draw for tourists, but it’s also to pay tribute to the local fishing industry.”
Ishulutaq, a well-known Pangnirtung artist and carver, is directing the project with eight local youth.
“He’s showing them how to carve granite, which isn’t as common and takes a while other skill set than carving with soapstone,” Ford said.
The group only began working on the boulder this past week, carving smooth oval indents across one entire side of the rock, which give the impression of fish scales or ripples in the water.
In the centre of the rock; a giant turbot. The monument is located at the community’s waterfront, the with Pangnirtung fiord as its backdrop.
As the project advances, carvers will add the figure of an inuksuk on top of the boulder.
The eight young carvers’ salaries are being paid by the Kakivak Association, Ford said. The project is considered important work experience, he said, given the number of Nunavummiut who make a living from the arts.
The hamlet office and the Government of Nunavut’s economic development and transportation department are also supporting the eight-week-long project.