A Greenlander At Home in New York City

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Today I came across a story about one Greenlander, Inuuteq Storch, who had an amazing experience in New York City which changed his life. I thought it was fitting to share it because I myself am in New York City at this very moment, and as I walked along 34th Street toward Broadway, I imagined what it must have been like for him to arrive here and suddenly feel at home amongst a few million people.

The following is my translation of an article originally published in Greenlandic and Danish only.

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A Magical Year in New York

“I felt at home in New York from Day 1. The city suits my mentality, and I felt comfortable in the big city’s international art scene. People showed a huge interest in my artwork and my story, so I was able to establish a network in the art community which I can take advantage of in my further developments as an artist,” said artistic photographer Inuuteq Storch, who, after a year at the International Center of Photography in New York, has now returned home to Sisimiut [Greenland].

The 27-year-old Storch’s artistic photography teacher at the Fotomorgana school in Copenhagen had recommended that he take this year at one of the world’s best art schools, where Storch, together with 70 other young artists, went through a Certificate Program in photography, artistic photography and photojournalism at the International Center of Photography in New York.

Standalone Artist

“I was recommended the school in New York because I am a standalone artist. I know I am unique because I have always gone my own way, both personally and artistically. All of my photo motifs are from Greenland, and my artistic expression stems from my Greenlandic roots. Artistic photography from Greenland is unseen in New York, so naturally there was interest for my photographs amongst the other artists I met through exhibits and showings there,” says Storch, who also stands out in a crowd due to his outward appearance with a manicured long moustache and nice eyes, as well as a large black hat that sits atop long black hair.

“For me, it is important to express positivity, probably because I get the negativity out of my head and into my pictures,” he says.

Storch first had to get together more than 250000 Danish Kroner [37000 USD / 34000 EUR] to be able to take the year in New York. He had actually applied and gotten accepted to the school two times previously, but it was only in 2015 that he finally had all the funding together to be able to fulfill his dream.

“When it finally worked out, it was a magical year,” says the charismatic young man.

Big Development

Storch has been interested in photography since his youth, so he no doubt underwent big developments during his time at the International Center of Photography from September 2015 to the end of August 2016.

“I went through a big development as an artistic photographer during my time in New York – especially technique- and identity-wise. My eyes were also opened to expressing myself through photo books, where previously I had focused on exhibits. I also learned a lot about myself as an artist, and now I know that I am a special artist within the realm of artistic photography, specifically because I root myself in my Greenlandic background and because I use Greenlandic motifs in my work.”

Storch says that he has good opportunities to further develop his art in New York.

“If I could have extended my stay in New York, I would have had the opportunity to be apprentice to a photographer who I got to know through several exhibits and showings I participated in while in New York. But, I went home instead because I missed my girlfriend, family, and the Greenlandic nature.”

Projects

Inuuteq Storch has for several years now worked on a project about a young hunter’s life in Sisimiut. In addition, he has started working on a book with photos from his year in New York. When artistic photography is not that lucrative in Greenland, it is necessary for the young artist to earn money another way.

“Together with two other peers from the art school in New York, I am working on preparing a photo exhibit that will be shown at Taseralik Culture House in Sisimiut in summer 2017. I hope it can also be shown in Nuuk.”

Storch himself saved a large amount of the money needed for his stay in New York. He also took a loan from the bank as well as received money via crowd funding and sponsors such as Royal Greenland A/S.

Story written by: Inga Egede ineg@royalgreenland.com

Visit Inuuteq Storch’s website at http://www.inuuteqstorch.com.

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Stay In Fashion (and Warm) in Greenland with Qiviut, Muskox Wool

IMG_5129  Kangerlussuaq, 67*N, midday January 2015 (-25*C / -13*F)

How do you stay warm in the Greenland winter? If you’re a tourist, take a tip from the locals. And if you’re a local, you take a tip from the wildlife.

Locals know best

Just like you might follow where the locals go to find the best live music in town, you should note what Greenlanders wear to keep warm.

Of course there are the usual suspects walking around like Canada Goose jackets and Sorel snow boots, but Greenlanders also use a whole host of sustainable locally-sourced animal products as functional, fashionable clothing.

It makes perfect sense, right? These are the very materials that allow Greenland’s wildlife to brave the sub-zero temperatures and icy waters of their Arctic home, and Greenlanders are using their meat and bones for sustenance anyway.

In the north, polar bear fur is common, and sealskin is more and more the image of urban Greenlandic fashion, thanks to the Great Greenland fur house.

But have you heard of muskox wool?

Muskox wool – Greenland’s cashmere

Muskox wool, called qiviut in Greenlandic, is very popular in Greenland for accessories like hats, shawls, and wrist-warmers. It is so fine a material – incredibly warm and soft – and it can even be washed without fear of shrinking. It is the underfur of the muskox, a goat-like animal with thick gnarly horns and an even thicker long coat, that is made into decadent yarn and woven into exquisite pieces. Some of the finest baby clothes I’ve ever seen were made of qiviut.

The best part for tourists is that qiviut is 100% approved for export (unlike polar bear and seal products). Therefore, you can buy up all the qiviut accessories your heart desires. I bet you’ll be the warmest person on the street once you get home! You could also buy the yarn in spools and take it home to the knitter in your life.

Here are my favorite personal qiviut items – a hat handmade and purchased in Kangerlussuaq at the Niviarsiaq Uld shop, and wrist warmers handmade by my colleague’s teenage daughter in Nuuk.

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If you find yourself in Sisimiut one day admiring a woman’s beautifully-woven qiviut scarf, chances are you just might be taking a tip from the local who knows very best.

Read more on Greenland.com about Anita Høegh of Sisimiut – the woman who pioneered the muskox wool industry in Greenland and changed how Greenlanders do warm!

A Surreal Serenade in Greenland

14136803876_ec1ca05fd9_k.jpg Photo credit: Mads Pihl – Visit Greenland

Ever been moved to tears due to an absolutely unbelievable combination of music and nature? It happens all the time at AirZafari!

Music Therapy

Music is an incredible tool to highlight an experience, and often, if the association is strong enough, the memory is seared into your mind and comes through as clear as if it was just yesterday, upon hearing that same music again somewhere down the road.

Listening to music while flying is something that always transports me to another place mentally. The right tune paired with the right scene out the little window can be downright epic.

For about 2 years there I had a small compulsion to listen to ‘Kids’ by MGMT upon takeoff.

Or try listening to Adele’s new ‘Hello’ on repeat while landing over the national monuments of Washington, D.C. (Which I may or may not have just done.) It gets you.

A Surreal Serenade in Greenland

AirZafari knows all about the surreal experience of listening to beautiful music while looking to even more beautiful nature. They often play classical melodies through the headsets for travelers while they gaze down at the sheer vastness of Greenland’s landscape.

Check THIS VIDEO created from a flightseeing tour in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland with AirZafari.

There are no words.

Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland

13561874664_c5cec2e689_k Photograph by Mads Pihl – Visit Greenland.

Summer is (nearly) upon us, which means it is almost prime hiking season in Greenland. Ski boots and winter jackets put away, hiking boots and gaiters unpacked!

To some, hiking is what you call a relaxing Saturday afternoon. A nice easy day trip to the hills to enjoy nature, pick berries, sit and drink a coffee, and maybe even have a barbecue on the rocks. It can be done anywhere in Greenland as there is backcountry everywhere.

To others, hiking is more of a walkabout. A much-anticipated, longer trek that not only transports you from Point A to Point B but also has possibility to transport you on a more spiritual level. You get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you reignite your love affair with nature, and maybe you even push yourself in a new experience. If this is your kind of hiking, then the Arctic Circle Trail in Destination Arctic Circle is for you!

Read more about it in this article, Hiking the Arctic Circle Trail, I wrote for the Visit Greenland monthly newsletter. (Do you want to start receiving the Visit Greenland newsletter directly? Sign up here!)

Or watch in live video!

And if you still can’t get enough, see here for my other blog posts about hiking in Greenland.

Arctic Circle Race 2014 – Cross Country Skiing in Greenland

(See all official participant results here.)

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Ready… steady… GO!

This morning (12:00 GMT on Friday 4 April 2014), 150+ sportsmen and sportswomen from 16 nations pushed off the starting line in Sisimiut, Greenland to start Arctic Circle Race 2014! For the next 3 days /2 nights, competitors complete 160 km / 99 miles of physically and mentally challenging marathon cross country skiing through Sisimiut’s backcountry.

Though a few Olympians fresh from Sochi and other world class athletes are present in Sisimiut, the Arctic Circle Race is much more than just a high profile sports event. It is something that brings true pride, happiness, and unity to the entire community of Sisimiut! Here, the Hotel Manager of Hotel Sisimiut describes what the Arctic Circle Race means to Sisimiut residents (translated from Danish):

“ACR is a state of mind!

Over the years, many Sisimiut residents have been involved in the race, either as runners or as volunteers, some for a few years other from the very start, and all deserve a huge thank you. Some have become tired in voluntary work and others are still as enthusiastic and loving it – but all feel something very special today.

It is ACR Day.

ACR is a kind of glue. Such a … glue that binds us together as citizens of Sisimiut. ACR represents the way we want to see ourselves and our fellow citizens. It’s about volunteering, pride, resilience, organization, international standing, but most of all, it is about UNITY. Together we can lift a major project that none of us could do alone.
There is a lot of money put into ACR from sponsors and the municipality, and it is a good investment. But, the community’s ACR spirit and unity is unique and can not be bought with money.

Sisimiut and the Arctic Circle Race, YOU did it ….. AGAIN!”

As testament to the unity and camaraderie the Arctic Circle Race creates, yesterday the competitors, volunteers, and Sisimiut residents all paraded to an opening ceremony & service together at the church in Sisimiut:

ACR-pretrip ceremony

Here’s the starting line today:

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Think their adrenaline is pumping hard enough?

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And they’re off! The first few meters / feet of the next 160 km / 99 miles:

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And at the end of the day, when all the competitors want is a warm shower and bed, this is the camp where they will sleep and get ready to do it all again tomorrow!

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The latest updates from Arctic Circle Race base camp (18:00 GMT):

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For more information & photos and to follow all the action in real time, see the official ACR website or Facebook page.

All photos credit: Arctic Circle Race – ACR Facebook page

VIDEO: Pioneering People in Greenland

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.18.59 AMPhoto credit: Village Culture in Greenland – Rough. Real. Remote. video

Last year, Destination Arctic Circle released a five-part series of short films highlighting everything from the BMX biking trend in Sisimiut to fly fishing in pristine mountain rivers in the backcountry.

Click here to see one of my favorite videos of all – Village Culture in Greenland. PS – the singer is my oh-so-talented colleague, Mads Lumholt!

To view the other videos in the series, see the Rough. Real. Remote. vimeo page.

Happy watching!

PHOTO GALLERY: Signs, Menus, and More Around Towns

A picture lasts forever! That is why I started snapping photos of signs around town, tourist information boards, restaurant menus, etc. Originally I did this for my own personal use, but I think it can be very helpful to anyone dreaming of or planning a trip to Greenland. It is hit or miss whether you can find this same information on the Internet, so I decided to share it here in one single place.

The menus can give you a great idea about average food pricing (all prices listed in Danish Kroner). And I think the photos give an accurate picture of what you can expect to find in terms of posted information when you arrive to Greenland, and in what language(s). Sometimes signs are posted in English, but oftentimes they are only written in Greenlandic and Danish.

DISCLAIMER 1: This is not a comprehensive gallery of every sign, menu, etc. in the given town. Nor is it a comprehensive gallery of every town.

DISCLAIMER 2: There is no guarantee that the information in the photograph will be valid forever. I indicate the season I took the photo so you will know if it is very recent or a bit older. By default, no picture is older than summer 2012.

DISCLAIMER 3: Sorry for the poor quality of some of the photos. As I said, I originally took the photos for my own personal use!

Signs in Ilulissat

Signs in Kangerlussuaq

Signs in Nuuk

Signs in Sisimiut

Signs in Tasiilaq

Signs in Uummannaq

PHOTO GALLERY: Signs/Menus Around Sisimiut

Extremely important information regarding which animal products may leave the country freely, which animal products require a CITES permit, and which animal products may not leave the country at all. This is posted in the Sisimiut Craft Workshop, pictured below. (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4640IMG_4639

Opening Hours for Sisimiut Museum (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4578

Wireless Internet Pricing at Nord Cafe & Art (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4586

Wireless Internet Pricing at Hotel Sisimiut (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4608

Opening Hours at Sisimiut Sport (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4615

Opening Hours at the Grocery Store (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4832

This is the meat & fish market, Qimatulivik (literal translation: “Storage Place”). See below if you happen to be interested in the going rates for Greenlandic specialties like Halibut, Reindeer, Muskox, Seal, Snowhare, etc. (Taken Summer 2013)

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Below – Pricing for Greenlandic specialities (the first word is the animal and the second, third, etc. words describe the cut of meat, the part of the body, whether it is dried or not, and so on).

I will keep it simple and give a small Greenlandic-to-English dictionary of the animals (in order of appearance) 🙂

Also, the second column tells the unit. “Kg-mut” = “per kilo” (2.2 lb). “Ataaseq” = “for one” or “each”.

Tuttu – Reindeer /// Umimmak – Muskox /// Qipoqqaq – Humpback Whale /// Ukaleq – Snowhare /// Arfivik – Bowhead Whale (a.k.a. Greenland Whale) /// Paarnat – Crowberries /// Saarullik – Cod /// Qeeraq – Catfish /// Nataarnaq – Greenlandic Halibut /// Eqaluk – Trout /// Kapisillik – Salmon /// Qaleralik – Halibut /// Ammassat – Capelins /// Puisi – Seal /// Niisa – Porpoise /// Aaveq (Aarrup) – Walrus /// Tikaagullik – Minke Whale /// Qilalugaq (Qilalukkap) – Narwhal /// Aarluarsuk (Aarluarsuup) – Dolphin /// Appa – Auk /// Miteq – Eider Duck /// Taateraaq – Seagull /// Serfaq – Guillemot /// Alleq – Long-tailed duck /// Apparluk – Auk /// Aqisseq – Grouse

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Opening Hours for Flower & Gift Shop (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4657

Storefront of Panigiit, a Gift Shop behind Taseralik (Taken Summer 2013)

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Practical Information in the Welcome Booklet at Seamen’s Home – Sisimiut (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4855 IMG_4856 IMG_4857 IMG_4858

Opening Hours at Cafeteria at Seamen’s Home – Sisimiut (Taken Summer 2013) IMG_4677

Example Weekly Cafeteria Menu at Seamen’s Home – Sisimiut (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4579

Opening Hours & Storefront for the Bakery, uphill from the large Cemetery (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4744 IMG_4745

Delicious sweet things at the Bakery (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4742

Food Menu at the Bakery (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4806

Storefront of the Pizza Place (Taken Summer 2013) IMG_4628

Menu at the Pizza Place (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4629

Opening Hours for Taseralik (Culture House) (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4598

Cafe Menus at Taseralik (Culture House) (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4603 IMG_4604

Opening Hours for Nord Cafe & Art (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4636

Menu at Nord Cafe & Art (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4830

Advertisement for Nord Cafe & Art (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4610

Dinner and Wine Menus at Restaurant Nasaasaaq at Hotel Sisimiut (Taken Summer 2013)IMG_4693 IMG_4694 IMG_4695

PHOTO GALLERY: Signs/Menus around Kangerlussuaq

Basic Information posted at World of Greenland – Arctic Circle’s Old Camp Accommodation (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2042

Basic Information in the Welcome Booklet at World of Greenland – Arctic Circle’s Polar Lodge accommodation (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2019

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Business Hours for World of Greenland – Arctic Circle’s Restaurant Roklubben (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2048

Dinner Menu for World of Greenland – Arctic Circle’s Restaurant Roklubben (Taken Spring 2013) IMG_2030

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Thai Food and Pizza Menus at [this cafe], south of the runway (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2089

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Business Hours at the bar on the 2nd floor of Hotel Kangerlussuaq/Kangerlussuaq Airport (Taken Spring 2013)IMG_2124

60-second Tourism Evaluation of Sisimiut! (66*N 53*W)

I have just spent 10 lovely nights in Sisimiut! In my opinion, Sisimiut is quite an easy town to be a tourist in. It is easy to get to/from, and it is easy to find information once you arrive. You can get to/from Sisimiut by Air Greenland flights, by the 160 km Arctic Circle Trail, and by the Arctic Umiaq Line ferry, Sarfaq Ittuk. It seems that most tourists take advantage of these opportunities to be quite mobile. In Sisimiut, there are choices for accommodations, excursions, shopping, and local hangouts, but not so many that you feel like you are missing something perhaps. Information about excursions is readily available at all of the accommodations, and arrangements can be made on the spot.

Sisimiut is commonly the end point for trekkers who do the Arctic Circle Trail, so tourists and locals both help create the relaxed and quiet atmosphere. For those who want to relax in town, there are a number of nice cafés and shops to discover as well as the culture house, called Taseralik, the Arctic Technical Centre, and the Museum. For those who are looking for more activity, there are daytime sailing tours, helicopter flights, and two mountains close by to hike (551 – 775 meters / 1,808 – 2,543 feet). Finally, for those with a special interest in fishing, Sirius Greenland has two field camps where you can fish for all the Arctic Char your little heart desires! They can even help you with SCUBA diving! And of course, for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy the sounds of silence, the backcountry of Sisimiut is your oyster!