Geographic Correspondents: What influences your work?

Geographic Correspondents: What influences your work?

Iqaluit butchering the first bowhead whale caught in the area in 100 years in 2011

Matthew: Yes, today’s topic. Some artists place protest at the centre of their work. How would you characterize your influences?

Laakkuluk: Are either of you protesters by your own definition?

Matthew: No. Not that I am aware.

Amy: I thought about this a little this aft and I think I am totally inspired by community and women who make a lot from not much!

Amy: I don’t think I am a protester but I make statements in my work for sure.

Matthew: What do you make statements about?

Amy: I mostly make statements about family – husband/wife stuff, mother/children and politics.

Laakkuluk: I find myself being politically active as a performer and in public outside of performance.

Amy: Yeah, I am an advocate for the arts for sure and follow politics in our province closely.

Laakkuluk: In fact in a fun little circular way, I got called a “drama queen” in the comments section of our local paper today.

Matthew: Are you?

Amy: Ha! What did you do to garner that handle?

Laakkuluk: I organized a solidarity march for the anti-fracking protesters in Elzipogtog.

Matthew: Nice.

Amy: We have protests against fracking here in Newfoundland as well, on the west coast.

Fishing Boat Pt. Saunders

Laakkuluk: Probably for the same bodies of water!

Amy: As I would say if I were there, “Frack that!”

Matthew: We heard about that protest all the way out West.

Laakkuluk: It was a pretty startling event.

Amy: Laakkuluk, do you think this will find its way into your work?

Laakkuluk: We made Idle No More statements in our last production, mixing it with raven mythology that was collected by Knud Rasmussen in the 1920s.

Amy: Yeah, I guess that is what happens: big, meaningful events do end up in our work one way or another.

Amy: Matthew, the show you are doing now, is it inspired by your home?

Matthew: It is about a cattle drive through BC in 1864. So yes. The play also recounts three actual British Columbia events, one of which is The Chilcotin War. This was between a First Nation and white Settlers. The war is very relevant today as the Nation has never surrendered and therefore claims rights to their land through this means, as well as others. I guess I worked it in to my work.

Laakkuluk: You do work politics in, but you said you are not a protester?

Amy: I feel if we are aware of what is happening in our community we can’t help but bring it in into our work. It is top of mind when we create.

Matthew: Yes. Maybe I am a protestor.

Amy: We can protest without placards and signs…the mighty pen and the act!

Matthew: Nonviolent resistance. Okay, what about influences?

Laakkuluk: What pictures are you each submitting for this assignment?

Amy: I plan to submit a photo of my Mom, My Aunt Mame and a photo of a boat/fishing village.

Matthew: I am submitting a picture of Joan Mans. She is a little old lady who was a best friend of mine. She lived 1925-2010. My next play is about her. Right now there is a cast of three professional actors and two ensembles. 24 kids and 24 dancers.

Amy: Beautiful! I can’t wait to see it. What inspired you about her?

Matthew: Her journey through extended health care was tough and she struggled to keep her spirit. In the end I think she did. I miss her and think great thoughts of her often.

Amy: Wow. Where will you do this, in Victoria?

Laakkuluk: it sounds like an entire movement around her story. I like it a lot!

Matthew: She was a pretty key figure in the arts here, volunteered everywhere. Yes, Victoria to start, but hope to work with ensembles elsewhere.

Laakkuluk: I’m sending a picture of Iqaluit community members cutting up a bowhead whale.

Amy: OMG. That is fantastic. So we are all influenced by place and great women!

Amy: Did you take part in the bowhead hunt?

Laakkuluk: I wasn’t on the hunting party, but my family went to help butcher after it was caught. I’m looking at a piece of baleen we took right now.

Amy: Will you make something from it? I remember as a child on the beach collecting pothead whale teeth. A big bunch of them ran ashore in Chapel Arm, years ago.

Laakkuluk: Lots of people make amazing jewellery and artwork. But I love just having the raw piece. It’s so big and surreal and lovely.

Amy: Yeah, I know what you mean about having the piece untouched.

Laakkuluk: Maybe we can answer what the characteristics of our influences are.

Amy: Hmmm, what exactly does that mean?

Laakkuluk: I think what we draw from our influences.

Matthew: What are your influences Laakkuluk?

Laakkuluk: If I were to talk about why that whale hunt is an influence, it would be a collaborative connection to the land.

Amy: I draw sustainability. The people who inspire me are usually underdogs of some sort. Persistence in the face of adversity

Laakkuluk: Would you call that resilience?

Amy: Yes, resilience is good. These people I speak of bring me joy and hope.

Matthew: Joan was an underdog for sure, persistent and tenacious. Resilient.

Amy: Yes Matthew, I love her already….

Joan Mans_ May 2010_by Pamela Bethel
Matthew’s influence – Joan Mans

Laakkuluk: Awesome!

Matthew: OK, I have to go find a new set. See you soon.

Laakkuluk: Good luck! See you!

Amy: Look forward to it. Good luck Matthew with your set and Laakkuluk with the children’s teeth

Laakkuluk: Take care Amy! 🙂

Matthew: Man, someone has to teach me how to do emoticons in this… Ciao

Matthew left the room.

Amy: how do we get out, just close?

Laakkuluk: I believe so

Amy left the room.

Laakkuluk is left alone in the room. She makes funny faces, but no one even sees her. So she leaves too.




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About the Authors

Amy House’s theatre career spans forty years. I know - she does not look that old! A comedienne, writer, actor, arts advocate, and Artistic Animateur of RCA Theatre Company in St. John’s, Amy has created several one-woman shows including: The Seven Faces of Amy with Maxim Mazumdar, ’Tis Not Human, To Be What You Want To Be, and Scratch and Pull.
Los Angeles native, Dana Dugan is an artist, acrobat, performer, pedagogue, academic, and mother based in Montreal. She was a founding member, programmer, and producer for the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at Concordia University under scholarship researching the circus body
I am an advocate for the deep human need for all people, but especially post-colonial indigenous people to express themselves at a level of creative excellence. A mother, student, writer and performer based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. I live in a household that speaks Greenlandic, Inuktitut and English. My work includes uaajeerneq – Greenlandic mask dancing, music, drum-dancing, storytelling and acting. Hunting, camping and eating wild foods are all activities that figure largely in my family.