Crafts

Inspiration from wildlife and the natural world

The Greenlandic word for art is "Eqqumiitsuliorneq", which translated directly means "to create things that look strange". The inspiration for Greenlandic arts and crafts often originates from wildlife and the natural world and not least from the traditional beliefs concerning the spirit world.

Wonderful magical figures

You can almost hear the sinister sounds emanating from the creature when you look into its staring eyes and monster-like body. You will see it on the shelves or on the desk in one of the town's craft shops or at the local tourist office. The creature in question is the Tupilak, a small carved figure with a powerful mythical magic. Buying the figure is a must when in Greenland; it is unique and highly characteristic of the history of art and culture in Greenland.

Wide range

However, there is more to find in Greenland in terms of both historical and contemporary arts and crafts. The museums in various towns feature both permanent exhibitions and temporary exhibitions of a more contemporary nature. Greenlandic art thus ranges from the more traditional approach to modern art produced by well-qualified and experimental artists covering disciplines such as sculpture, painting, installations, the graphic arts and photography. Greenland's house of culture, Katuaq, in Nuuk is often the venue for major contemporary art exhibitions.

Nature's materials

Craftsmen utilise Greenland's own materials such as the wool from the musk ox, sheep's wool, sealskin, mussel shells, soapstone, fish skin, reindeer antlers, precious stones and much more besides. The tourist offices often have local Greenlandic crafts and souvenirs for sale, in addition to which there are a large number of shops and skin maker's workrooms which also sell other gifts. In all towns there are offices that can issue CITES certificates that ensure that tourists can take the Greenlandic tupilak back home with them.

Photographs
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