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Episode 15: Decolonizing Beauty

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

This episode explores the idea of beauty and what it means to reclaim and revitalize our Inuit standards of beauty, featuring tattoo artist Paninnguaq Lind-Jensen and filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. This conversation was originally recorded virtually on November 13, 2020 for the North x North conference Extra Tough Women’s exhibit at the Anchorage Museum, and features guests Paninnguaq Lind-Jensen and Althea Arnaqaq-Baril two powerhouse Inuit women and I was honored to even be in their virtual presence. Francesca Dubrock from the Anchorage Museum, opens our discussion.

Paninnguaq Lind Jensen is a traditional practitioner of Kakiornerit. She has eight years of experience in professional tattooing and has been researching and focusing on Kakiornerit for the last four years. She uses the practice of tattooing to revitalize and disseminate our kakiornerit-tradition as well as cultural preservation. Alongside her practice, she is also currently writing children's books about our culture and cultural knowledge with a focus on Kakiornerit. She is also currently working on InuInua Stories, a new production company which focuses on being a voice in stories where the Inuit side of the story has been excluded and which promotes knowledge and information about Inuit rights as indigenous peoples.

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril is an Inuk filmmaker, known for her work on Inuit life and culture. She is the owner of Unikkaat Studios, a production company in Iqaluit, which produces Inuktitut-language films. She was awarded the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross MSC, in 2017 in recognition of her work as an activist and filmmaker. She currently works part-time at the Qanak Collective, a social project which supports Inuit empowerment initiatives.

Quyanaqpak, thank you again to our panel speakers Paninnguaq Lind-Jensen and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. Definitely check out the #PasstheBrushChallenge Inuit style created by Paninnguaq and check out Alethea’s long list of amazing films like Angry Inuk and Tunnit and The Grizzlies. Embracing your identity and heritage is beautiful in any culture. It was so cool to connect across the circumpolar north from Nuuk Greenland to Iqaluit, Canada to Alaska. We hope you enjoyed listening to this conversation and if you’re in Anchorage, the Extra Tough Women’s exhibit is open to the public at the Anchorage Museum. I’ll be checking it out soon, safely of course!

The coffee for this episode was provided by Kappittiaq, an Inuit owned and operated business dedicated to supporting the survival and revival of Inuit culture. Each year, 75% of Kaapittiaq's profit is used to create programs promoting Inuit culture, language and knowledge. Kaapittiaq means 'good coffee' in Inuinnaqtun.

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