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  • My Arctic: Broken Silence, Broken Earth
  • Bill Zuk

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Figure 1.

Bill Zuk, 2011. Opal Ice [Print].

I was inspired to create a video about the Arctic because it gave me an opportunity to reconnect with teaching in Canada’s High Arctic among the Inuit people. Some of these experiences focused on bringing youth and elders together to share cultural knowledge in mutually supportive situations (Zuk, 2007). I was also motivated by the call for a/r/tography submissions allowing me an opportunity to present my studio work and collaboration with a videographer as living inquiry. This involved being on-site, sketching, and on various field trips while capturing the raw beauty and fragility of a remote area of the world undergoing sweeping changes. Rising temperatures and melting ice are beginning to drastically affect people’s [End Page 97] lives; nations are vying for sovereignty and trade routes through northern waters; economic development is intensifying in the quest for oil and gas and gold. Where there was once silence and sanctity, there is now noise and broken earth. The video I am Arctic (Zuk & Gilson, 2011) is slow-paced, poetic, and focuses on elemental forces of nature. Dreamlike images depict the aurora borealis sweeping into the stars, along with elders sharing their knowledge with a new generation of youth. Intimate scenes of family life leave little doubt about responding to questions such as these: Who will listen to the voices of elders who know the stories of the sun, the stars, and the sea? The songs of the drum and the dance? Will this wisdom be heard amidst the changes and the rush for Arctic riches? The adaptability and resiliency of the Inuit people over thousands of years suggests it will. For more, visit Bill Zuk’s website:

Bill Zuk
University of Victoria


Zuk, B. (2007). Community voice and intergenerational learning: Building a strong art-based education. Canadian Art Teacher, 6(1), 16–25.
Zuk, B., & Gilson, L. (2011). I am Arctic. Retrieved from [End Page 98]


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