The Igloolik, Nunavut, collective Artcirq is a collaborative, community-based circus and multimedia company that has been creating work, engaging youth and performing around the globe since 1998. And that’s not all! The arctic circus also makes music and has released two albums recently on iTunes.
Co-founded by Isuma Productions and Guillaume Saladin, Artcirq blends techniques of modern circus like juggling and acrobatics with aspects of Inuit culture including drum dancing and throat singing.
At first, the group formed in reponse to local tragedy. From articirq.org:
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.