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Follow DAREarts Grad Mariba into Nunavut!

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At DAREarts, we are grateful to stay involved in our delegates’ lives long after they graduate from our programming. Many of our grads choose to send us their stories of positive risk-taking, dreaming big, and achieving excellence. We invite you to follow the journey of grad Mariba Douglas with us as she learns about life in the far reaches of northern Nunavut:

The hamlet of Pangnirtung is absolutely beautiful, and every day I feel as though I am living in a postcard.  The landscape is so enchanting that I often find myself thinking that the negative temperatures we are still experiencing, despite it being June, may not be so bad after all.  You can check out my blog: http://northernsonder.wordpress.com!

The hamlet of Pangnirtung, located in the far north on Baffin Island! Map courtesy Google Maps.

The hamlet of Pangnirtung, located in the far north on Baffin Island! Map courtesy Google Maps.

I work in the Uqqurmiut Arts Centre – a gallery that specializes in printmaking and tapestries, and is one of its kind in Canada and one of four in the world.  For the last four years, the print-shop has been closed due to health and safety concerns associated with the craft: dangerous fumes from the chemicals they are using to make their crafts. Tapestries, however, are still being made, and it is such an honour to be able to watch as the women weave intricate patterns, pictures and stories from their looms. This has made me realize that when a garment or item says “handmade,” there is a serious amount of work that goes into making it.  Day after day, these talented weavers quite literally use their entire bodies to create rich and intricate pieces.

From day one, many have taken me under their wing and taught me the things I need to know to survive in Pang. It has definitely been a learning curve but I couldn’t be happier. My job requires me to archive all of the catalogued prints dating back to the 1970s.

The breathtaking landscape of the far north -- more can be viewed on Mariba's blog, Northern Sonder. Photo courtesy Mariba Douglas.

The breathtaking landscape of the far north — more can be viewed on Mariba’s blog, Northern Sonder. Photo courtesy Mariba Douglas.

I have decided to work closely with one of the artists to see if we can put on an arts festival in Pang. Everyone in the community does something aesthetic. The artists tend to travel outside of the community to share their talents and pass on their gifts, but have yet to do something similar in their hometown….

…Speaking of DAREarts doing fantastic work, I met someone in the community who works for the Government of Nunavut and has heard about DAREarts! She works in creating policy for educating indigenous youth in the North, and came across DAREarts one day as she was researching examples of when the arts has proven an excellent means of empowering youth and furthering their passion for education. She presented examples of DAREarts projects throughout Canada to a board that didn’t believe in the potential or necessity for the arts in the North. It was a success!  I couldn’t believe that all the way in Pang that I would meet someone who knew of the power DARE-ing youth!

Cheers,
Mariba Douglas

A montage of Pangnirtung. Courtesy of Mariba Douglas.

A montage of Pangnirtung. Courtesy of Mariba Douglas.

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3 thoughts on “Follow DAREarts Grad Mariba into Nunavut!

  1. Reblogged this on Northern Sonder and commented:
    I would like to say a big thank you to DAREarts for featuring me on their blog. Please visit DAREarts.com or DAREarts.wordpress.com to learn more about the amazing work this organization does to empower youth across Canada.

  2. Hi Mariba:
    I am so proud of you for doing this. I have always wanted to go to the north. Don Stewart who was an instructor at Georgian College, was one of the first instructors to go to Pangnirtang to teach the women to weave these tapestries. This was about the time I was first learning how to weave and spin myself. The best of luck to you and enjoy your journey. I think of you often.

    Pat

  3. Hi Pat!

    Thank you so much for leaving this beautiful message – it was a pleasure and honour to read. That is so cool that you are acquainted with Don Stewart, and in a small way, connected to the women here. I truly hope that you get the opportunity to venture up North one day, as it is incredibly beautiful and the people are so kind! Thinking of you also!

    Cheers!

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