Trail Dispatch – Art Thrives in Pangnirtung



pang_post_office.jpgCoordinates: 66.09 N, 65.35 W
Distance Traveled: 0 mi/ 0 km
Temperature: -25
°F/ -31 °C
Wind: 5 mph/ 8 kph
Cloud Cover: Clear skies
Sunrise: 5:54 a.m.
Sunset: 5:11 p.m.

Oh, the feeling of cotton against my skin after days and days in polyester! We all shed our trail uniforms in favor of softer, lighter (not to mention cleaner) clothing. After a day of thawing out indoors, feeling somewhat dazed and washed up, we are on our feet again ready to explore the world. I took to the streets early this morning to see the town.

 

My first stop was the Community Center where I was immediately met with a warm welcome. Wearing the bright blue expedition parka, marked with a patchwork of bright sponsor patches and expedition logo, it’s a little hard to blend in. Within minutes I was engaged in a conversation about unseasonably thin ice on the Sound and the impacts this has on the local fishing industry. From there I walked several blocks to the Health Center, and on to the Northern Store. A stop at the Pangnirtung Post Office produced letters and packages from home, a source of immense joy for all of us! The highlight of the morning, however, was by far a visit to the Pangnirtung Center for Arts and Crafts.

The Center for Arts and Crafts, housing a spectacular print studio and weaving cooperative, is home to an incredible collection of native artwork. Managing staff, Peter and Judith, greeted me when I came through the door and were kind enough to give me an extensive tour of the premises. After days of travel through a stark tricolor landscape, the weaving studio was a sight for sore eyes. Spools of red, yellow, green, and blue yarn practically bounced off the walls as I walked through. Several artisans worked at looms set around the sunlit space. The print studio was equally inspiring. I spent several hours talking with print makers and staff about the printing process, history of print making in the area, and the significance behind various images. It was a wonderful surprise to see both Lypa and Annie Pitsiulak’s striking images carved into prints. We had seen some of Annie’s drawings at the Outpost Camp. Translated into a print form, however, they became even more graphic and powerful. It was almost impossible to to pull myself away but the lunch hour called (and my metabolism is high!).

printbldg.jpgLife has now settled into a different rhythm. Our alarms go off at 7:30 a.m. instead of 5:45 a.m. There are eggs and occasional bacon for breakfast (along with heaps of granola and oatmeal). Family and friends are a telephone call away. Base camp life is a transition period for the expedition team as well. While we are unwinding from our previous leg, we are simultaneously winding up for the next one. This stay will last us until the weekend when we depart for the much-anticipated Auyuittuq National Park.

Rested and relaxed,

Abby

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