MAGNETIC NORTH: voices from the Indigenous Arctic

Thursday, December 3, 2020 Start time: 6:30 pm


Venue: Online


Hivshu, Photo: Galya Morell 

Celebrate the cultural diversity of the Arctic and its importance to us all at this special online event, presented by Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival in partnership with the British Museum.

We invite you to listen to stories from extraordinary Indigenous Arctic artists, poets and musicians. Hear the resonant Sámi yoik, thrill to the bold drum song of the Inughuit, be entranced by Inuit poetry, and encounter a mask dancer.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis change our way of life, we have the opportunity to pause, reflect and look at our world from new perspectives. What can we learn from the Indigenous Peoples who live alongside the melting ice? To address climate change and the current situation in the Arctic, Magnetic North will include inspirational voices such as Caitlyn Baikie (Top 5 Indigenous leaders under 30 to watch, CBC 2015) and Hivshu (whose name means "The Voice of Arctic").

Following her journey to the Arctic for the most Northerly Youth Strike this September, Mya-Rose will speak with Caitlyn Baikie about the climate change issues Arctic communities already face and the concerns for what’s to come. 

The event will be brought together by Indigenous Sámi band Vassvik (led by Torgeir Vassvik), who capture the resonance of the Arctic in a ritualised trance-like soundscape. Alongside them will be Inupiaq/Tlingit storytelling from Ishmael Angaluuk Hope, performance poetry by Inuk author and spoken-word artist Taqralik Partridge, entrancing and powerful Greenlandic mask dancing from Elisabeth Heilmann Blind and contemporary and political performance artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory.

Award-winning Arctic photographer Kiliii Yuyan (30 Emerging Photographers, PDN 2019) will illuminate Magnetic North with film and photographs showing the hidden stories of polar regions, wilderness and Indigenous communities. Informed by ancestry that is both Nanai/Hèzhé (Siberian Native) and Chinese-American, he explores the human relationship to the natural world from different cultural perspectives.

This is a FREE online event, register here

Magnetic North is supported by Arts Council England and the High Commission of Canada, part of the public programme accompanying the Citi exhibition Arctic: culture and climate at the British Museum (22 October 2020–21 February 2021).