Welcoming guests with a giant Qulliq
With the goal of creating a strong symbolic art piece representing Isuarsivik’s values and mission to welcome guests in our new Centre, a project to create a Qullialuk, or giant Qulliq, was born. The Qulliq, a traditional Inuit soapstone lamp that provides warmth and light, was chosen for its strong symbolic value, especially in the context of healing. It conveys a feeling of safeness, warmth, resiliency, hospitality, and intimacy which are all essential elements for individuals and families who wish to progress on their healing journey.
The Qullialuk Committee was formed to select artists who are going to be creating this giant Qulliq and to oversee its design and realization. It is composed of a majority of Inuit with representatives from Isuarsivik’s board of directors and the clinical team as well as from Avataq Cultural Institute and Evoq Architecture.
This project will be realized by Mattiusi Iyaituk, an established artist from Ivujivik, and Benjamin Isaac, an up-and-coming professional artist from Salluit. They will be collaborating, sharing, learning from, and teaching each other to achieve this technically challenging sculpture. This intergenerational effort will symbolize the cultural foundation of Isuarsivik’s healing work through their shared vision of the artwork for anyone entering the new installation.
The whole process will be documented on video, which will become part of the storytelling around the creation of the Qullialuk. The video will disseminate the project’s goals, process, challenges, and successes with the population of Nunavik, stakeholders, and other artists from the North looking for inspiration.
The artists will realize most of the work in Kuujjuaq since there is no appropriate place to manage such a big stone in their home communities. They will make several trips to Kuujjuaq to complete the work over several months.
During these stays, Qulliq carving workshops will be held with clients of the current center. The resulting exchanges should feed into the Qulliq creation process by helping artists develop a deep understanding of the hopes and challenges of people in recovery. Clients will work on their own Qulliq to take home. Their Qulliq will become part of their storytelling around their recovery process.
Other workshops will also introduce youth and residents of Kuujjuaq to the art of carving and provide participants with unique access to professional artists. The unveiling of the artwork will be part of a large community event to promote Inuit art, culture, and healing. These two initiatives will hopefully help to mobilize the community around the project and highlight the link between culture, art, healing, and reconciliation.
We are very eager to hear back from Canada Council for the Arts in October as their funding would secure this project’s future and give the green light for the artists to start working on the project.