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Art inspires
Youth artwork on display in Iqaluit

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IQALUIT - Arctic Youth Art Initiative artists got a chance to showcase their artwork among the works of established Arctic artists at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit museum in Iqaluit on Jan. 16.

NNSL photo/graphic

Artwork by children in the Arctic Youth Initiative in the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit museum on display in Iqaluit on Jan. 16. - Kassina Ryder/NNSL photo

"It's to acknowledge 10 years of the program," museum manager and curator Brian Lunger said. "It's a mini-retrospective."

The Arctic Youth Initiative was founded by Iqaluit resident Beth McKenty. McKenty moved to Iqaluit in 1999 and won a Caring Canadian Award earlier this year for her volunteer work with youth.

"Beth is very modest but she's really been doing a wonderful service for youth in the community," Lunger said. "She has inspired young people to be more creative."

Nine-year-old Lena Ekho is just one of many children in Iqaluit who spends her Saturday mornings painting in Iqaluit's Baha'i House, McKenty's residence.

Ekho said she likes painting Inuksuit and rainbows and her favourite colour to paint with is purple.

Ekho said she has been painting for the past four years.

"When I was young, I started painting at Beth's," she said.

McKenty said she is grateful for the opportunity to help youth in the community.

"It's been an immense privilege to be able to open the door and do something," she said. "I love the area I live in, people have been very responsive."

The museum also sells postcards of the children's work. The cards are printed for free by one of McKenty's former students from her days teaching English in China.

"It's all come together in the most amazing way," she said.

Lunger said the exhibition will be open to the public for about a month.

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