The CCF/FCMA was proud to be a part of the 2016 Northern Lights Conference in Ottawa during the last week of January. This unique opportunity to bring north and south together under one roof and across a broad range of interests, is a rare and effective exchange.
With the arts as a central feature, the Nunavut Arts & Crafts Association (NACA) organized a wide variety of activities on site, including an arts fair, exhibition, fashion shows, workshops & demonstrations. Over 40 artists from across Nunavut, Nunatsiavut, and Nunavik attended, displaying and selling their work, while also learning about the many opportunities available to Northern artists.
By partnering with NACA, the CCF/FCMA brought a national perspective to these regional events. Working in tandem, we spearheaded exposure and professional development events, including a tour of contemporary galleries and museums, and two half-day symposiums.
The gallery tour brought almost 30 artists through 6 galleries, including the Ottawa Art Gallery, SAW Gallery, the Canada Council for the Arts' Âjagemô art space, the Canadian Museum of History, L.A. Pai Gallery, and the National Gallery of Canada. Each stop included a brief introduction from the institutions' staff, providing context for the work seen on the tour. Visits to the two museums were particularly heartwarming, as some of the visiting artists encountered the work of their parents and grandparents on display. Other stops were emotional for altogether different reasons, including the 'Bluebird of Happiness' exhibition by Ruby Ewen at SAW Gallery, which dealt with the abuse she experienced as a young child in a residential school. Between these wide ranging exhibitions and the many artworks on display from Northern, Southern, Inuit and Aboriginal artists, the tour highlighted different styles of artwork, exhibitions and institutions.
Maegen Black, Director of the CCF/FCMA, acted as the moderator for both symposiums, including the 'Arts Business: Partners & Success' and 'Northern Artists: Help & Assistance' panels. With 16 speakers over the course of two days, the symposia touched on business practices and opportunities from the perspective of artists, accountants, organizational and program directors, granting officers, and researchers. The audience ranged from 40 to 60 throughout the course of the presentations, bringing important professional development to artists, curators, and gallery owners interested in the North.
Participation in these and other such events, where geographic, cultural and artistic borders are crossed, is important to the CCF/FCMA. We see the great benefit of exchange, and encourage the continuation of projects that allow this type of national exposure. We congratulate NACA for their work at the event, and thank all the artists, speakers, and visitors of the event who participated.