This Monday 28 Nov from 6:45pm – 9:00pm, at the Free Word Centre, London, I’ll be hosting Northern Lights, an evening of poetry, performance and film to begin Highlight Arctic, a year-long multi-arts festival from and about the circumpolar North.
To kick off Hightlight Arts’ Highlight Arctic festival we’re hosting an evening of poetry, performance and films from and about the circumpolar North. It’s a chance to learn about the environmental issues the region is facing and to hear from its poets who will perform some of their work.
The Arctic climate is transforming at an alarming rate – with rising temperatures, melting ice and changing ecosystems. Areas that were previously inaccessible are now opening up and bringing changes to the economy and communications. Life for local inhabitants is changing fast.
Following COP22 (7-18 November 2016), Jessie Kleemann, Inuit poet and performance artist, and Niillas Holmberg, Sámi poet, musician, actor and activist will perform work that reflects on the Arctic region and the current global political issues that it is facing.
We’ll also present two films by Arctic-based filmmakers reflecting on the impacts of climate change on Arctic communities and landscapes. We’ll start the evening with a screening of Pitaqangittuq (32 mins) and invite you to stay for a screening of Hollow Earth directly after the performances (23 mins).
Come and be part of our journey to the Arctic.
With thanks to the Embassy of Denmark in the United Kingdom and the Embassy of Finland, London.
More information about the speakers and films
Niillas Holmberg has published five collections of poems in Sámi language. He will perform a selection of poems about the Sámi people’s connection with nature and discuss how this is being lost through intrusive development in the region and the tourist industry’s appropriation of traditional livelihoods.
Jessie Kleemann‘s poems were first published in her book Taallat in 1997. She will perform poems, written in Kalaallisut (Greenlandic), Danish and English that combine mystic, natural imagery and traditional Inuit motifs with stories of current ‘everyday’ life in the Arctic, highlighting social issues and the effects of environmental change in the region.
Pitaqangittuq (2010 – Dir. Guillaume Ittukssarjuat Saladin, Félix Pharand D., Nicolas Tardif)
In the isolated Arctic community of Pitaqangittuq (Nunavut), the climate is warming at an alarming rate, but it’s inhabitants are determined to adapt to their changing world by utilizing their ancestral survival skills and creativity.
Hollow Earth (2014 – Dir. Tanya Busse & Emilija Skarnulyte)
Hollow Earth is a visual meditation and examination of contemporary resource conditions within the circumpolar areas of the North. Combining research material, landscape shots and archival footage, this short film hopes to reflect over the changing image of the North, as a site where violence, desire, greed, and emotions are played out.
About Highlight Arctic
With a population of four to five million people, the Arctic is home to 40 different ethnic groups and languages living in 50 different ecological areas, all of which have adapted in ingenious ways to this unique environment. Traditional Arctic cultures, languages and lifestyles that still exist today depend massively on their natural environment, making them particularly vulnerable to the current challenges presented by climate change. Highlight Arctic will bring together artists with different cultural backgrounds and diverse practices, all sharing a common interest in improving our understanding of the ongoing changes in the Arctic. The environmental issues that the Arctic faces are shared all around the High North, and artists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greenland, north-west Russia and Canada will participate in the year-long festival.
Yasmin Al-Hadithi is a filmmaker and audio-visual artist whose work has screened at festivals internationally. With a background in Visual Anthropology, she is an active member of practice-based research collective Akoo-o and has taught film and film literacy programmes in Scotland and the USA. Her study at University of Edinburgh focused on the Inupiaq of Northern Alaska – with an emphasis on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the portrayal of Inuit people and culture in photography and film. Yasmin joined Highlight Arts as a producer in 2009, and is co-Director of Highlight Arctic.
Niillas Holmberg – Sámi poet, musician, actor and activist.
Holmberg was born in 1990 in Ohcejohka (Utsjoki) in northern Finland. He is an award-winning poet, has published five books of poetry in the Sámi language and has been translated into more than ten languages. In 2015 he was awarded the Lapland Art Prize, Premio Giovani Literature Prize and nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. He also performs internationally as a musician playing Arctic folk, electronic and world music.
Jessie Kleemann – Inuit poet and performance artist.
Kleemann was born in Upernavik in northern Greenland in 1959 and now lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. She has participated in Nordic and international exhibitions as well as in many one-person exhibitions. As a poet, she has represented Greenland at Nordic and international literary events. She is especially known for her provocative performance art, in which she has developed a form of ‘body art’ based on ancient masque performances, with themes of heritage, land and myth. She writes and performs in her mother tongue (Kalaallisut), Danish and English.