Last month we had the pleasure of taking the girls to the Northern Lights trade show. My old friend and roommate from my Yellowknife days was one of the artists in the Arts & Cultural Pavilion and I hadn’t seen her in almost 20 years (man that makes me feel old). I thought it would also be a good cultural experience for the girls and let’s be honest, it is hard to keep me away from an art show. So, I thought I would do a little post on it in case it might entice anyone to check out it next year.
Here is one of the talented artists I met, Andrew Qappik, who did all of his painting with blending brushes. It was pretty cool to watch him in action.
There was a lot of beautiful seal fur in the artisanal goods being offered. I know the first thing people think of when they see it is likely the cruel and inhumane images of the seal hunt that have been highly publicized or those that think that the killing of any wild animal isn’t ethical. I know, I have been there myself which is why I became a vegetarian and was attending animal rights rallies down in Florida at the age of 17, but my opinion changed a bit when I moved up north to Yellowknife.
Not that anyone has asked but I feel that if the materials were sourced ethically, that is ok by me. As long as the species is not being threatened; no unnecessary pain or cruelty has been inflicted; the killing of the animal serves an important use; and the killing involves a minimum of waste, then the process is ethical. Humans need clothing to survive, and in many regions warm clothing is essential. Of course there are other materials to keep us warm, but the best of them (wool, down, leather) also come from animals. Meanwhile, most synthetic fibres (including fake or “faux” fur) are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource, the extraction and transformation of which entails serious environmental risks. The clothing, food, income and cultural identity provided by sealing are anything but frivolous for Inuit and other coastal people.
Trapping, hunting and the use of animals in artistic endeavours also provide food and important income for people living in rural or remote regions where alternative employment may be hard to find. Fur is certainly not frivolous for them and it is more ethical for them to use these animals for clothing and in art or crafts than to discard them. Sorry, I may have gone off on a little tangent but my little rant is over, haha.
This was a floral bouquet made out of seal fur.
There was also a fashion show with some gorgeous pieces.
Here an artist is tying the twigs of the fragrant Tamarack tree into a likeness of the Canada goose.
These are some of the final products which are mostly used for decoys but pretty enough to be used for decoration (or an air freshener as they smelled so good).
Here is the lovely and talented Adina with her Ugly Fish designs. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of her creations. She makes jewelry from ethically harvested caribou antler, beluga vertebra, teeth & other found bones. It might sound a little gross but they really are amazing.
Here is Adina’s mom who is an artist and accordion player. I finally got to hear her play!
Smallest and cutest little mukluks I have ever seen!
Our whole family thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon and it was great to catch up with an old friend! I highly recommend going if you get the chance.