Nunavut encompasses the traditional lands of the Inuit, the indigenous peoples of Arctic Canada. This vast and rugged landscape, representing an astounding 21% of Canada's total area, was carved out of the eastern part of the Northwest Territories, officially becoming its own territory on April 1, 1999. It is celebrated on July 9 however, since that's the date, in 1993, when Canadian parliament passed two Acts granting them self-governance, thus it has more historical significance to the Inuit.
Nunavut means "Our Land" in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. Thanks to the leadership and determination of the elders, the map of Canada was re-drawn, leaving the Inuit with a rich legacy of land, culture, stories, arts, language, and wildlife.
This painting was inspired by a photograph that was taken by an Inuit photographer, showing 3 polar bears surfacing from the icy waters at the base of an iceberg. Initially, I felt sorry for the polar bears, as it seemed to me they faced an insurmountable mountain of ice. My assumption was proven wrong once I read the caption, written by the photographer, about polar bears:
"They climb the ice as if it isn't even slippery, like they don't even slow down when climbing..."
For me, this image highlights the resilience, flexibility and strength that is native to this region of the world.
Photo reference credit: Niore Iqalukjuak