Spotlights From Across the Circumpolar North

In the weeks leading up to the Summit, the Arctic Arts Summit Digital Platform has been spotlighting important regions of the circumpolar North and organizations working to support Arctic artists and their practices. Spotlights are an exciting introduction to the variety of perspectives across the circumpolar world—we invite you to browse the spotlights below, and to learn more across the platform.



Faisant dos à la caméra, une mère et son fils se tiennent bien droits en levant vers le ciel leurs tambours inuits traditionnels. Devant eux s’étendent un lac et des montagnes.
Ossie Michelin, Le tambour d’Evan (2021).

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has been working with Indigenous and other Northern communities across Canada since the 1940s to tell their stories. The NFB’s growing collection of Inuit cinema features titles from all four Inuit regions in Canada: Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

Watch films, read stories, and engage with learning initiatives
A view looking across Qaumaujuq’s distinctive curving granite facade, with blue sky behind at left.

This spotlight celebrates the opening of Qaumajuq, an innovative new museum dedicated to Inuit art and culture, and a home for the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. This first-of-its-kind centre is connected to the Winnipeg Art Gallery on all levels, creating an 185,000-square-foot cultural campus in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Learn more about the new Inuit art centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Photograph of a brown log which is cut and tied up on a mossy forest floor surrounded by trees.
Norrakollektivet (Anja Örn, Fanny Carinasdotter & Thomas Örn), A Place Disappearing (2020).

This spotlight presents art and culture from Norrbotten, Västerbotten and Sápmi, in the northern part of Sweden, with a population of approximately 500,000 in a geographic area covering about one-third of Sweden.

Browse profiles, projects and essays
A squat ceramic vase in tones of white, grey, beige, and black decorated with figures of two Inuit on either side of the mouth of the vase, from which seals have emerged, playing across the vessel’s surface. A person’s head and shoulders protrude from the front of the vase.
Pierre Aupilardjuk, Nuliajuk (2016). COURTESY ESKER FOUNDATION. PHOTO: M.N. HUTCHINSON.

This spotlight showcases artwork, filmmaking, and music from across Nunavut. Nunavut is a massive, sparsely populated territory of northern Canada, forming most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Its islands have expanses of tundra, craggy mountains and remote hamlets, accessible only by plane or boat. Nunavut is known for its Indigenous Inuit people’s artwork, carvings and handmade clothing.

Explore filmmaking, music, ceramics, sewing, drawing and more
A worn red building in Vardø, a town in the northeast of Norway, is painted in white with the phrase: “IT’S NOT DOWN ON ANY MAP. TRUE PLACES NEVER ARE.”

This spotlight showcases the art and culture of northern Norway through a dynamic presentation including visual arts, craft, film, dance, music, and provocative talks and discussions by artistic and cultural leaders. Highlighting collaboration within and among artists from various disciplines and backgrounds in the north of Norway, this spotlight focuses on urgent issues within the region: gender, identity, political organizing, Indigenous sovereignty, Arctic self-determination, the power of cultural mythology about the North, climate change, ecological crisis, connections to land and materials, tradition, technology and adaptation. 

Explore performances, films, talks, and more
Seven dancers in traditional clothing perform outside of Katuaq, Greenland’s Culture House.

This is a spotlight on Greenlandic art and culture. Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, is the world’s biggest island, in the middle of the Arctic, with a population of 56,562. Kalaallit, the people of Greenland, have a strong sense of identity rooted in the traditional Inuit culture—a traditional hunting culture with a lot of spirituality. Greenland is also part of the Nordic countries and has historic relations to other Nordic countries. All of this is apparent in Greenlandic art and culture.

Explore Greenlandic approaches to research, music, art, dance and more
An image shows an electrical tower in an Arctic landscape, surrounded with equipment at its base, and snowy mountains behind. In the foreground, a single figure stands, facing the camera.
Elle Márjá Eira & Mai-Lis Eira, The Sámi has rights (video still) (2019). COURTESY INTERNATIONAL SÁMI FILM INSTITUTE.

Bringing together contributions by Sámi artists, collectives and organizations, this spotlight centres on artistic creation and exchange across Sápmi, the Sámi traditional territory stretching across the northern part of the Scandanavian Peninsula and large parts of the Kola Peninsula.

Engage with Sámi perspectives on art, culture and policy
A photograph of five slippers of various sizes and colours lined up next to eachother.
Left to right: Slippers by Mary Louise Drygeese, Shirley Bernarde, Rose Bonnetrouge, Lucy Jane Simon, Mary Inuktalik © The artists.

Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) is diverse in nature—and so are the artists that live here. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the land and rich culture and tradition of its people, artists of all genres are inspired to create and share the story of their art.

Explore a wide range of impactful projects from 3 Indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories
A photograph of a curved building with a wooden exterior and tall narrow windows, located at the shore, with a large rolling mountain behind it.
The exterior of Illusuak Cultural Centre. COURTESY NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT.

This spotlight highlights the artwork of Inuit in Nunatsiavut. Nunatsiavut is one of the four regions that comprise Inuit Nunangat, with a settlement area that spans 72,520 square km of the northern region of Labrador. 

Explore projects from across five Inuit communities
An aerial photograph of a blocky beige building with partial blue roof, with a view of a residential area in the middle-ground behind it, and mountainous terrain and cloudy blue sky in the background.
Aerial view of the Yukon Arts Centre. PHOTO: NORTHERN DRONE SERVICES.

In this spotlight on the Arctic Arts Council platform, the Yukon Arts Centre shares some of its current, recent, and ongoing projects in support of the Yukon’s diverse artistic communities:

Learn more about recent projects, exhibitions and collaborations
Musicians perform the live score to a silent film on a blue carpeted theatre stage. On the theatre screen in front of them is a person wearing a headscarf and carrying a bundle over their shoulder.

In this spotlight, the Norwegian Barents Secretariat focuses on the positive and successful cooperation between artists and cultural institutions that normally takes place across the Norwegian-Russian border. 

Projects from the Barents Secretariat fostering people-to-people connection
An abstract graphic with circular and question-mark shaped forms in red, yellow, and teal on a deep blue background.

Barents Spektakel is a cultural-political cocktail with contemporary art and music, theatre and performance, architecture and design, seminars and debates as its ingredients—all spiced with current issues related to the Barents Region and the High North in general. Between the 23rd and the 27th of February, 2022 Pikene på Broen invites visitors to experience the 18th edition of the Barents Spektakel festival

Take in discussions, debates, films, workshops, and more
Interior of a shipping container painted with black and white animals and human-animal hybrids. A video of ice floes is projected onto the iris of an eye painted on the back wall of the shipping container.
Glenn Gear, Iluani/Silami (It’s Full of Stars) (2020). PHOTO: DAVID LIPNOWSKI.

This spotlight showcases the work of Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project, a seven-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant project that aims to dramatically increase the number of Inuit and Inuvialuit in leadership positions in all sectors of the arts by providing innovative, hands-on mentoring and training opportunities for students across the North and South. This spotlight presents a selection of the many activities undertaken by the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership team in collaboration with their partners, mentors, and Ilinniaqtuit (students / learners). 

Explore projects, profiles and stories by leaders and learners
A panorama-format oil painting depicts a creek running down the centre of the canvas, with pink blossoms growing on either side of it, nestled in a mountainous landscape.
Cory Trépanier, Ephemeral Beauty (2020). Tanquary Fiord, Quttinirpaaq National Park, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. COURTESY CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC.

This spotlight showcases a selection of stories from Canadian Geographic about the North—its dramatic, ice-sculpted landscapes, its unique flora and fauna, and the resilience and ingenuity of those who call the Arctic home. At the same time, these stories are underpinned by the understanding that climate change is reshaping the Arctic faster than any other place on Earth. As an organization based in Southern Canada and covering stories from across the country, Canadian Geographic recognizes the urgent need to listen to northerners on issues like food insecurity, shipping, pollution, biodiversity loss and cultural preservation and understand how these challenges stand to affect not just the Arctic, but the rest of the world. 

Stories and conversations to read and watch

This spotlight celebrates artistic work from across Nunavik, one of four Inuit homelands that make up Inuit Nunangat, covering over 560,000 square kilometres of Arctic Quebec.

Find out more through exhibitions, essays and videos
A view of two performers holding hands on a stage, bathed in blue light, with musicians on percussion instruments at either side in the background.
Solju (Ulla Pirttijärvi and her daughter Hildá Länsman), who combine Northern Sámi language and traditional chant (joik) with new and innovative music. PHOTO: JANNE JAKOLA, ARCTIC ARTS SUMMIT 2019.

This spotlight showcases Finland, who hosted the Arctic Arts Summit in 2019. In this spotlight, Finland shares Indigenous Sámi art and work by other artists who work with Arctic themes, in support of Arctic sustainability. The University of Lapland is an active partner in the development and research of Arctic art and design. Various Finnish art institutions, as well as grassroots organizations led by artists, regularly collaborate with their Arctic friends and partners, and this spotlight also reflects various multinational projects and collaborations.

Take in innovation and insights in art, design and sustainability