On May 6th-20th, I am an artist in residence at the Ilulissat Kunstmuseum which features the works of Emanuel A. Petersen and of contemporary Greenlandic, Danish and foreign artists. This beautiful building that I am so privileged to be living in and working in was once the residence of the “Colony Manager” in 1923. Here lived five different colony managers and later a trading company. In 1995 it became an art museum which is the first for Greenland. There also is a group of women called Seqineq (sun) who meet regularly in the museum to paint the surroundings. On the property there is a garden which is as old as the building an important resource for the residents. The curator and the residency program manager is Ole Gamst-Pedersen.
The project I am working on is about identity and connecting to ancestors, from a mixed race perspective of White and American Indian. Specifically coming from a tribe (Lumbee Indian) that is not recognized by the US government and the complications that come with this. I was curious to find out what it was like for those in Greenland especially those that are half Danish and half Greenlandic, their struggles with identity. How does the culture and traditions live on after colonization? Is there similarities between the struggles of Native Americans in the states and the Inuit struggles in Greenland? The more I found out the more questions I have. Visit my website lauraarena.com for more about this project.
I spent my endless days of light looking out the window watching the boats move in an out of the harbor. Introducing myself and my project to large groups of museum visitors. Drinking coffee and learning about Greenlandic/Danish ways from Ole and his beautiful wife Trine. Living in an art museum with painting of icebergs and old ways of the past. Taking long hikes where Icebergs are made, visiting the local businesses and being equally scared and intrigued by the sledge dogs all around. Greenland is a strange, beautiful, and somewhat a dangerous place. A place I am more aware of my own fragility and the true force of nature.
For more information visit http://www.ilukunstmus.gl/en/.