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Young Arviat artist ponders future while creating in the present

In many ways, the world of art revolves around creativity, expression, interpretation and communication, regardless of the medium through which it’s presented.

A mural created for the hamlet by Charlotte Karetak shows the talent of the young artist from Arviat.
Photo courtesy Charlotte Karetak

For Arviat’s Charlotte Karetak, 25, the art of creativity, itself, is on a journey with her, having been born through the love of a grandmother, openly expressed through opportunity, being a constant companion in a personal space dedicated to its persistent need to simply be, and moving towards the age of digital beauty created on an iPad.

The need to create blossomed within Karetak after she completed high school and happened to move into the home of a talented artist who also just happened to be the recipient of the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council’s Wise Woman Award in 2012 – her grandmother, Rhoda Karetak.

Charlotte said she always had a feel for art, and living with her grandmother gave her more encouragement to keep drawing and get into bigger projects.

She said her grandmother played a big part in making her feel more secure about “doing her own thing” when it came to expressing her thoughts and feelings through art – and then opportunity came knocking.

“There was a teacher who used to live here – his name is Ross Patterson – who hired two guys from Toronto to do a painting on the community hall, and I learned some techniques through watching them paint the mural,” said Charlotte.

“They had a lot of spray paint leftover and I was working with the Aqqiumavvik Society at the time – I think it was 2013 or 2014 – and they ran the youth centre.

“So I got permission from Kukik Baker at Aqqiumavvik to paint the youth centre, and permission from the high school to use the leftover spray paint, and I painted the outside of the youth centre.

“A lot more opportunities to paint murals came along after that.”

Charlotte said the hamlet contacted her immediately after she finished the outside of the youth centre, wanting her to do a couple of paintings on the inside of the building.

She said the hamlet came calling again a few years later.

“They asked me to paint in the main area of the new hamlet building they were opening in 2016, I think it was, and it was a little intimidating because it was the biggest wall I had ever painted on the inside of a building.

“I had no idea how to use the paint brush properly, but I found the paint a lot easier to use than spray paint because they blended a lot easier.

“The good part of it was they gave me a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to paint on it, and they left my options open as to what that would be.”

Charlotte said she has her own little space at home that is strictly for painting, writing and reading.

She said she has a lot of supplies – many that were gifted to her – and she works with a lot of different mediums at home.

“I work with acyclic paints and pencil and I’m in the process of going digital, drawing on an iPad and things like that.

“A lot of people have also been asking me to design their tattoos or logos for a business that they’re thinking about opening.

“They tell me what sort of things they want done and I do the best that I can to create them. A lot of what I do now, actually, is for other people and I don’t mind that at all.

“There are a lot more things that I don’t show to other people because they’re a little bit more of a personal point of view that allows me to express how I feel on a certain point.”

Charlotte said she’s thinking about trying to get into an art school for at least one year.

After that, she’d like to get into the more educational aspect of creating art, she said.

“I’d like to just be a teacher and help teach other people who want to do it.

“I don’t have a particular school in mind, but I was thinking about maybe going to Ottawa.

“I’m still kicking it around and trying to figure it out.

“It’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do, if I can build-up the courage to go back to school.”