Summary and background of the “Artcirq - Arctic Circus” Mission
Summer 1998, Igloolik, Nunavut. Two teenagers commit suicide, once again shattering this small island community of 1500 residents. Every time a suicide occurs, feelings of despair and powerlessness resurface in this world where two cultures collide. In the Arctic, loss of sense and sorrow are real facts of life. Based on government statistics at the time, 4 to 6 young adults commit suicide every year in Igloolik, which represents a rate seven times higher than in Montreal.
Following the recurrence of such tragedies in Igloolik, some concrete actions are taken to give children and teenagers a medium to express themselves. The initiative of Isuma Productions (movie Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner) forms a group of eight young people, intended to prevent suicide in this small community. The organism Inuusiq, which means “Life” in Inuktitut, is created, and its first mission is to realize and produce, with the help of ISUMA production, a television series about the youth’s life in the Canadian Arctic of today. Guillaume Saladin was a member of this organism, “Inuusiq youth drama group”, and a co-writer and actor of the series. Furthermore, studying at the National Circus School of Montreal at that time, he implements the circus project Artcirq with six others students of the circus school, including Karine Delzors. Now Artcirq evolved in a community-based circus and multimedia company, allowing northern and southern artists to bridge and meet in a meaningful and creative way.
The goals and objectives of the group are to:
1. Introduce Inuit to circus arts;
2. Use the roots of traditional Inuit culture (acrobatics, juggling, clown) to relate with the techniques of modern circus;
3. Give young Inuit access to universal communication vehicles offered by circus arts, to bridge the gap between the different generations and cultures;
4. Promote spiritual and body self-expression while enhancing self-esteem of participants;
5. Deliver orientation workshops on circus arts in the village of Igloolik;
6. Create and present live performances with the young people of the village and the artists of Montreal, in partnership with Cirque Eloize;
7. Videotape the whole experience and to produce short films in collaboration with Isuma;
8. Cooperate with the Youth Group of Igloolik in order to prevent suicide by increasing the communication tools within youth, a communication often limited by a lack of resources.
9. Increase awareness on global environnemental issues, especially on Arctic's climate warming and its impacts on communities, in partnership with Globaïa.