Creating in the Time of Climate Change

Project Spotlight: A circumpolar conversation presented by Canadian Geographic

Nänkai akändür dän äłek’e ädesedèyè Ch’i cha jų̃ kwa’ch’e uts’an kwäts’eden-ji

Climate change is the greatest existential threat humanity faces today, and nowhere are its effects more observable, and more keenly felt, than in the Arctic. Dwindling sea ice, rising sea levels, thawing permafrost and species loss have complex and far-ranging consequences, but are especially poignant for those who call the Arctic home. Artists are frequently in the vanguard of societal change; they invite us to engage with different points of view, challenge our assumptions and embrace our vulnerability. In this pre-recorded conversation moderated by science journalist and playwright Alanna Mitchell, four artists from across the circumpolar Arctic share how climate change is affecting their communities and how it informs and is expressed through their work.


The panellists:

Jakop Janssønn (Norway) – A musician and composer, he has just released two new commissioned works, both with climate change as the core theme, with great reception from both press and audience. He is Sami, but works in the intersection between traditional Sami expressions and contemporary jazz.

Tanja Koistinen (Finland) – Tanja Koistinen is an artist from the province of Lapland in Finland. Her artistic approach is multi-disciplinary; painting and printmaking, installation, socially-engaged art and site-specific art. She also works as a curator and producer of art exhibitions. Today, Koistinen lives in Äkäslompolo, northwest Lapland. In her artworks, Koistinen aims to relearn ancestral wisdom and values, and reflect her own position in society and her surroundings.

Zacharias Kunuk (Igloolik, Nunavut) – Zacharias Kunuk, OC, ON is a filmmaker, sculptor and visual artist. He is perhaps best known for his debut feature film Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) from 2001, the first Canadian feature film produced entirely in Inuktitut. He is the co-founder of Isuma Productions, the first independent Inuit-led film production company in Canada.

Inez Shiwak (Riglolet, Labrador) – Textile artist Inez Shiwak’s artistic and community work attempts to address climate change at ground level. She refrains from representing climate change in her work out of respect for the other Rigolet artists who have made it integral to their work. She instead focuses her activist energy in her community work in the arts industry, previously as an administrator of the Rigolet Digital Storytelling Project and as a researcher for the eNuk app—a platform that aims to be “an integrated environment and health monitoring program designed by, with, and for Inuit in Rigolet.”

When: Thursday, June 16, 2022

Time: 2:00pm ET

Where: Streaming live on the Canadian Geographic YouTube page and the Arctic Arts Summit website – see below!

The third Arctic Arts Summit takes place in Whitehorse, Yukon from June 27-29. Canadian Geographic is proud to partner with the Canada Council for the Arts and the Inuit Art Foundation to create a virtual platform for the Summit and support six months of digital programming leading up to the in-person event.


This story is part of the Canadian Geographic Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.