Nomad Land is an artistic and inclusive multimedia project that seeks to explore and revitalize Greenlandic traditional wisdom and myths from the coast. A series that uses filmmaking as a tool for personal growth, as well as a means to raise awareness about climate change. All content is made in collaboration with local youth and Greenlandic artists. The chosen stories seek to inspire coastal communities to explore and share their own myths, engaging in a conversation about nature, while preserving traditional wisdom.
In this fabulous tapestry of interconnected realities that life is, one could argue that local voices should be able to participate in how possible futures are represented, express their opinions, and have an influence. But that is not always the case, especially when those voices speak of ways semi whipped out by globalization, and of a worldview that might only be fully understood in a wider context of connection with nature. Film Series
Thanks to Nordisk Kultur Fund for their support in making the materials below.
Some myths and stories for children are meant to teach people, and scare them too, about the harshness of nature. This video shows the names, and habitats, of some of the stories the films explore. To give an example, we will mention the character used as narrator.
“AAJUMAAQ – The sleeved one, is known and feared across all of Greenland; it has served as a helper spirit to some of the greatest angakkut such as Naaja, Maratsi… and others. AAJUMAAQ not only acts as a helper spirit but also as a creature of vengeance when an angakkoq uses it to attack his enemies. It often accompanies an angakkoq on his spiritual journey to the other world as its strength makes it a powerful weapon against evil spirits or enemies wanting to kill the angakkuq on his travels. But first, the angakkuq needs to master or ally himself with the helper spirit.”
Along with the research for the project, we realized that being in Nuuk offered us the opportunity to facilitate cross-generational conversations around the idea of leaving the place people grew up in due to a change in their environment. In this case, a grandmother tells her granddaughter why she had to leave Qullissat, something she had not thought about for a long while. It was a very emotional moment, that gave us the idea of pursuing these kinds of exchanges.
Qullissat Coal Mine, on Disko Island, was shut down overnight in 1972 after more than 50 years of activity. The inhabitants of the once upon a time largest industrial city in Greenland were relocated to new villages and towns that were not always welcoming. Many took to the controversial Blok-P in the distant capital Nuuk. These buildings are shown in the videos below.
To this day, the closure of Qullissat remains an open wound, however, it seems that the experiences and lessons learned then paved the way for home rule in Greenland, illustrating the importance of public participation in any venture that has to do with the extraction of natural resources.
Although the magical and the mysterious seem to have been forgotten in modern societies, myths and imagination have been our historical connectors to the wonders of nature, as well as sources of knowledge and social cohesion. Those closer to the natural world, the animal psyche, and the elements, were respected members of society, taken in high esteem, and consulted. They were the ones who had a deep understanding of how to abide by nature and thrive. But who is trying to see like an eagle now, sing like a whale or stand like a tree? Where has that connection gone in the globalized world of today? Where is the awe for what’s known to be the rarest and most precious thing in the universe which is life, in whatever form?
There is no denial of the fact that we are entering an environmental state of emergency. The overall intention of “Nomad Land” is to raise awareness about the need to care for nature from an artistic, inclusive, and multifaceted approach. This project promotes education and cultural exchange among people while helping develop skills and stories that can be used to bring forth local perspectives with global interests.