A large ceremonial iglu, a qaggiq, was erected at Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park in Iqaluit for the weekend of March 20 and 21 with builders having cut ice blocks and started construction earlier that week.

Standing at around 30 metres-wide in diameter, the qaggiq was made by a team of builders led by Solomon Awa and Jacopoosee Tiglik over the latter half of the week put together the towering structure, finishing it on Sunday morning.

Ice blocks are lined up outside of the qaggiq construction site March 18. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

This was part of Qaggiavuut’s Qaggiq 2021 arts and culture celebration and their push to build a permanent performing arts centre in Iqaluit.

As part of the festival, Iqalummiut came together as artists and performers gathered to take part.

Artists from all over Nunavut

The artists came from all over the territory with Pond Inlet’s Tununiq Theatre and  Arctic Bay singers Debbie Oyukuluk and Jeremy Tunraluk among dozens of performers who made appearances.

The Alianait Arts Festival and the Iqaluit Tukisigiarvik Centre were partners in making Qaggiq 2021 happen.

“This is the first time we’re doing this and hopefully we can do it again, this is a dream and it’s now coming to reality,” said Interim Executive Director Pitseolak Pfeifer during the opening introduction to Qaggiq 2021.

“It’s a place that we really, really need, if we have to play outside, and if we have to perform outside we’ll do it, but we deserve a performing arts centre in Nunavut.”

The Inukshuk Drum Dancers perform on Saturday afternoon in front of the qaggiq. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

The ultimate goal to build the permanent Qaggiq Hub has been in the works since the planning stages in 2010.

“We’ve had a hard winter with Covid, this is a great chance to come together as people to celebrate life and celebrate love. This is what it’s all about, this is our culture,” said Pfeifer.

According to Qaggiavuut over 1,500 people attended the festival over the course of the weekend.

Looe Arreak, QAGGIQ artistic director, left, addresses the crowd at the beginning of Qaggiq 2021, flanked by Pitseolak Pfeifer, Qaggiavuut executive director, left, and Pallalaaq Friesen, Qaggiavuut board chair, on March 20. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

“Qaggiq 2021 was only a taste of what we could do in the performing arts centre Qaggiavuut has been pursuing,” said Looee Arreak, Qaggiq 2021’s artistic director.

By Monday March 22 the qaggiq was dismantled.

Built as impermanent gathering places they are meant as temporary structures.

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1 Comment

  1. Good to see this page arts and culture festival, I wanting to be apart of festival i do woodcarvings in Uganda East Africa.

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