Kivalliq Inuit Art Camp back after pandemic break

·2 min read

Now in its 16th year, the Kivalliq Inuit Art Camp has grown from its original inspiration in 2006.

“Originally the camp was developed on board an Adventure Canada ship tour or the Arctic,” said Paul Mantrop, one of the organizers and teachers.

He and Rob Saley, plus a group of artist friends, were looking for a way to stay in the communities they were visiting. Bernadette Dean was on board the ship as a cultural translator, and she informed Mantrop of the Somebody’s Daughter program, which took Inuit women on the land to reconnect with their roots.

“With the help of Bernadette’s experience as a program director in the Kivalliq Inuit Association, we created an art program for Inuit youth,” said Mantrop, adding that since then, the program has evolved to all ages.

Like with so many things, the art camp took a break during the pandemic, so teachers were excited to see it back on this summer in Rankin Inlet for the first time since 2019.

Participants spent time on the land practising their art and finding inspiration in their surroundings, including a trip to Marble Island. The camp ended with a display of their work for the community to view July 29.

“The highlight for me in every art camp is we don’t know the students or their abilities until we meet them on day one,” said Mantrop. “It’s always rewarding to see each student grow and develop their own ideas, taking pride in their finished work and excited to start their next artwork.”

Mantrop and Saley have attended every art camp since its origin in 2006.

“Feedback for me comes from every student – they’re struggling with a challenging painting and find success, to those students that are just enjoying working with the abundant art supplies,” said Mantrop.

“Hearing the laughter and communication between the students is the best feedback.”

He especially highlighted the camp’s growth from a youth event to one for all ages, including involving established artist Andrew Qappik and KIA programming that includes financial opportunities for the students.

“We’ve had several students, on their own merit, continue their art studies in post-secondary education,” said Mantrop.

The art camp is held in every summer and sometimes in November.

Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kivalliq News