INUIT ART AT CAPE DORSET, NUNAVUT, ARCTIC CANADA

Prologue

In one of these never ending arctic polar nights when only some ravens were loafing through the icy roads of Cape Dorset loudly cawing, the pretty hard polar wind had only one intention whispered at the next corner: I have to find the shaman of Nunavut to raise my question that why is the owl not that what it seems to resemble. But the shaman was very busy because he had an important appointment with the other world which cannot be found in a snow crystal or the sky with all its strange sparkling stars.

Shamanhunter, 2015, carving by Pitseolak Qimirpik

This made the wind quite upset, angry and naughty because the wind could never visit this special shaman’s world. So he embraced and fixed the shaman with his mighty icy robot-arms and blew him in a short moment which lasted less than a second all over the ocean westwards into the far away German landscape of Berlin. Now, the shaman-hunter is standing in front of me in my room completely frozen and fixed to a serpentine stone, and my calendar utters simply breathless that we are right now in November 2017.

Emblem of Nunavut

The land of the Inuit is called Nunavut written in their own language like this ᓄᓇᕗᑦ. This term means simply our home-land and stretches over a big arctic territory in the North of Canada. The Inuit culture is – in remote settlements partly until today – a relatively uniform hunting culture, which until the middle of the 20th century, was specialized on the hunting of marine mammals (seals, walruses, whales), but also of land based animals (caribou, polar bears). The social structure of the traditional Inuit society was largely egalitarian which means that each person had basically the same access to resources and there were only very small differences in rank.

Arctic Madonna, 1980, drawing by Pittaloosi Saila

In the 1960s, the Canadian government funded the establishment of secular, government-operated high schools in the Northwest Territories (including what is now Nunavut) and Inuit areas in Quebec and Labrador along with the residential school system.  This was a real wake-up call for the Inuit, and it stimulated the emergence of a new generation of young Inuit activists in the late 1960s who came forward and pushed for respect for the Inuit, their culture and territories.

View on Cape Dorset in May 1997, photo by Ansgar Walk

Cape Dorset is an Inuit village at the Southern tip of Baffin Island  in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. The Inuktitut name is Kinngait ᑭᙵᐃᑦ  which stands simply for high mountain as to be seen on the photo. In 2016 the population comprised 1,411 residents, an increase of 5,7 % compared to 2006. A handful of unnamed dirt/gravel roads (unpaved because of winter conditions) cross the village but do not connect beyond Cape Dorset.  Near the village the remains of the Thule (Tuniit, Dorset Culture) were discovered who lived between 1,000 BC and 1,100 AD. Cape Dorset was named by Captain Luke Fox after Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset, on 24 September 1631.

First craft centre of Cape Dorset in the 1950s

Caribou, 1957-1958, experimental print by Kananginak Pootoogook

Cape Dorset is also known as the capital of Inuit art, since the 1950s the place has been a centre for drawing, printmaking and carving. Today these ambitions continue to be the community’s main economic activities with some 22 % of the labour force employed in the arts. In 1957, James Archibald Houston, created a graphic arts workshop right here which was considered a away for the community to generate income by adapting traditional art forms to contemporary techniques. The artists have much experimented with etching, engraving, lithography and silkscreen. They produce annual catalogs advertising the limited edition prints. The most wellknown artist from Cape Dorset is Nuna Parr, his carvings are internationally recognized and his work is exhibited in the National Gallery of Canada.

Cover of Inuit art-booklet from 1988
by Pangnirtung Eskimo Co-operative, Baffin Island

Raven’s Earth, 1995, stonecut by Mayoreak Ashoona

In the old Inuit mythology the raven was seen as creator of the entire world and all living beings with beats of his wings. He also had the power of both a man and a bird, and could change easily from one to the other simply by pulling his beak over his head as one lifts a mask. According their tradition the first human being was born from a pea-pod plant, because the raven also filled the land with growing pea-pod plants, and when after some time one of the pea-pods burst open, out popped a fully grown human being, the first to walk around raven’s earth.

Seadiver, 1998, carving by Itulu Itidluie

A local carver at his workshop, photo by Ansgar Walk

The “Shamanhunter” and “Raven’s Earth” are also to be found at my home, these fascinating works inspired me to writing this feature about a strange and unique place where I have not been so far. So this post here is also my anticipative call for discovering endless Canada sometime in reality.

Quiviuq, 1973, printing by Armand Tagoona and Ruby Arngna’naaq

 

Linked to Cathy’s wanderessence blog:

anticipation & preparation: egypt in 2007

 

MY NEAREST MOUNTAIN – CRAZY TEUFELSBERG IN BERLIN

Today, I would like to introduce you to the mountainous aspects of Berlin. Downtown there are of course some quite higher tops like Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg which make me thinking of the funny film dealing about an English man who climbed on a hill and came down a mountain (that’s also the film’s title).

Postcard with view from Kreuzberg in 1866

But the nearest and more well-known and highest elevation of Berlin is Teufelsberg / Devil’s Mountain in the huge municipal forest Grunewald and just 2 km distant from my home – even with rising sea levels a safe place due to an actual height of unbelievable 120.1 m, a location which also offers an interesting and surprising history.

Deceptive idyll on Teufelsberg in June 2018

Being geologically one of the youngest mountains worldwide, the 50th birthday of the location has just passed by, a critical age where a lot may change usually in the course of times as the following pictures of the site do clearly suggest.

Today Teufelsberg a center of urban art, the very last mutation of a bizarre place.

But let’s see what happened before here. At the end of WW II you would simply find a flat forest and the bombed rests of a big building formerly used by the German Wehrmacht as a military academy. This place was lying in the British sector of (West)-Berlin where no German army was allowed till the early 1990s when the special status of the city ended with the German unification. So nobody had any use for these military ruins left by the Nazis.

Ruins of Wehrtechnische Fakultät at Teufelsseechaussee

Vast areas of the town were also destroyed as a result of WW II, so this was declared as a place where all the debris and rubble of smashed houses would be brought till the late 1960s, in total 26 million cubic meters of waste material piled up to a new mountain getting the name Teufelsberg  because the site is lying at the road Teufelsseechausee leading finally to natural lake Teufelssee.

A truck transporting rubble to Teufelsberg, December 1951

Nature took quickly control of this dump, so today the mountain is covered by a wild nature and secondary forest. And the people of West-Berlin used the new mountain also for leisure like  snow sports as it was difficult to go elsewhere for quite long time due to the Wall of Berlin surrounding them till 1989.

Ski lift on Teufelsberg (120.1 m), Winter 1961

Down the mountain’s not too long slope, December 1981

But the mountain has also been the last listening post of the Cold War. In the years 1968 the American army seized the complete top area of the mountain and erected till 1969 a radar and monitoring station for intelligence purposes such as controlling telephone conversations in the former German Democratic Republic. The secret name of these constructing and supervising ambitions was Project Filman. The last and fifth tower was built and finalized in 1989 shortly before the political transitions and opening of the Wall of Berlin. With the unificiation of Germany this complex was no longer required, the American army left the place in 1991 changing the area to a mere ghost town.

Teufelsberg radar and monitoring station by US-army in the 1980s

Path around the complex through the secondary forest, June 2018

Pioneer plants conquered the place in the time being which grew in the cracks of the asphalt and even settled on roofs. Undemanding plants such as the evening primrose, the stonecrop or the elder have laid the groundwork that it is today very green on top of the Teufelsberg. The complex was sold to an investor who planned a hotel and luxury appartments on the mountain. But after getting many millions of loan for the project from the banks, he was never seen again in the city. Some years ago this area has also been declared as forestrial land making impossible such luxury projects in the future. 

One of the decaying radiation domes, August 2019

Colorful wildness of the ruins, August 2019

The abandoned and still militarywise fenced place attracted of course the urban art and graffiti community. So in the ruins you find today a vast diversity of amazing colorant works of any kind. The domes can no longer be visited due to their bad conditions, but the unique complex is huge and can be visited against payment of an entrance fee. Meanwhile another change, the city awarded this wild site the relevant status of a real protected monument. So history can be just fabulous sometimes!

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Linked to:

Tuesday Photo Challenge – City

 

ALPINE FLORA AND FAUNA IN MONTAFON VALLEY, AUSTRIA, BY BEATRICE

Now this will be the last feature regarding our Summer holidays in Austria, and after Ulli (who operates this blog) already has shown for instance some tracks left by Ernest Hemingway here in Montafon as well, it is now really time for some flowers and animals to be found in the beautiful Austrian Alps, colourful impressions picked up by me.

Old world swallowtail (Papilio machaon)

 

Amazing temporary geometry

Ferns in a forest

Bleached sculpture on the trail to Falla

Swiss horses on vacation at Gargellenalpe

Explosion of colours in TschaggunsHill moor with cotton grass (Eriophorum angustifolium)

Fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)

High plateau and trail leading from Wiegensee to Verbellaalpe

Fading floral aesthetics

Moss covering a tree and gravestones

Mountain meadow

Alpine rose (Rhododendron ferrugineum)

Turk’s cap lily (Lilium martagon)

Alpine gentian (Gentiana alpina)

A layer of old snow near Kreuzjoch

Thanks for joining this small excursion through mountains and flora!

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linked to:

Jo’s Monday walk : Vila Franca do Campo

FOTD – August 22, 2019 – Photographer and Dahlias

WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE REALLY MEANS

When I see the news in TV it embarasses me that the true effects of climate change in my country are only seldomky to be seen. Weather reports indicate again nice and dry weather although the lands would just require 2 or 3 weeks of continuous rain. This effectively means that the drought which commenced in April 2018 continues in large areas of Germany. The featured photo above of a lake looks seemingly nice, but something is wrong because the reeds are not standing in water anymore as usual, instead you see a new created sandy beach due to missing rain.

Desertificating bank of Bernsteinsee / Amberlake near Prenden, Brandenburg

Now also ecological borderland – view on German Frankfurt/Oder from Polish Slubice

On the last photo you should see normally the river Oder being the borderline of Germany and Poland here. But instead we just observe a predominant huge sandbank which made the river simply vanishing to nearly nothing optically on this not modified picture. Well, the river is still there behind the sandbank but with much less water than normally. Now, I can imagine why deserts are growing worldwide.

All photos here just actual messengers of the ongoing climate change shot in Eastern-Germany, August 2019.

 

 

HISTORICAL MURALS OF BERLIN, 1965-1989

In the 1970s, the graffiti scene, inspired by the burgeoning hip-hop movement, finally developed in the New York underground. Within a few months it became a gigantic wave that spilled over to Europe. The punks and hip-hop took streetart to their strongholds of London and Amsterdam, from where they arrived in West-Berlin.

View on newly erected houses at Stalinallee, Berlin-Friedrichshain, 1963

Wall frieze by Walter Womacka
House of the Teacher, Berlin-Mitte, 1965

Also in East-Berlin there were forms of street art, however, the artists were severely restricted in their freedom and had to be in strict compliance with mandated socialist realism as to be seen here on the wall frieze by Walter Womacka from the 1960s. Political slogans were also painted on houses and walls of East-Berlin but usually immediately removed by state security. The Berlin Wall initially only presents itself as a huge screen in West-Berlin, onto which political slogans, murals and later graffiti are painted and sprayed from the 1970s.


The dividing Wall of Berlin, 1961-1989

Wall frieze by Walter Womacka
House of the Teacher, Berlin-Mitte, 1965

In its beginnings streetart found many advocates. The Second World War had left many traces in Berlin in the form of firewalls and bomb blanks, which could be concealed by the murals. The politicians promoted the street art projects in West-Berlin with design programs and competitions like Kunst am Bau. Numerous artists brought different styles and techniques with them, the goal was an active intervention in the cityscape.

Ben Wagin, “World Tree”
Berlin-Tiergarten, 1977/2018

It all started with a moaning tree being surrounded by violent car exhausts. The environmental work Weltbaum (World Tree) by Ben Wagin was the first big mural realized at the Western part of Berlin in 1977. Due to construction works it can no longer be seen at its original place. Therefore, it was painted and reconstructed again in May 2018 at a suitable building in Lehrter Str.

Gert Neuhaus, “Zipper”
Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1979

Marilyn Green, Rainer Warzecha and Christoph Böhm
“Model Germany”, Berlin-Kreuzberg, 1981

Political slogans painted or sprayed on house walls have always been part of political movements, not only since the West-German squatter movement of the 1970s and 1980s, which makes intensive use of this means of expression. The squatter movement was especially strong and active in West-Berlin where many houses were unused, empty or in very bad condition.

House ruin at Winterfeldplatz
Berlin-Schöneberg, 1981

Mural on a squatted house
KuKuck, Berlin-Kreuzberg, 1982

The works created in West-Berlin in the 1970s and lateron by the squatter movement of the 1980s often had a political message – such as the “World Tree” by Ben Wagin or the now-defunct Mural “Model Germany” by Marilyn Green, Rainer Warzecha and Christoph Böhm. Illusion painting was also very popular. One example is the still existing gable “Zipper” by the artist Gert Neuhaus.

Sigurd Wendland, “Potsdamer Str. 1945”
WW II bunker, Berlin-Schöneberg, 1983

Harald Juch, “Chernobyl Disaster”
Berlin-Schöneberg, 1986

View on Kurfürstendamm
Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1987

Gert Neuhaus, “Phoenix”
Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1989

Illegal underground art existed by mutual agreement in addition to commissioned works, which were mostly awarded by housing associations. Sometimes the works also overlapped, often disappearing again. With the big political transitions starting in late 1989 a lot has changed in Berlin also in regard of urban art, but that’s still like that till today!