Artist: Kunuk Platou.

On Greenland’s National Day on the 21st of June at 2 pm, Nuuk Art Museum opens the exhibition “Illoqarfik”. The title is the Greenlandic word for “city”, which also directly translates to “place with houses”. The exhibition examines the artists’ treatment of the city as a motif. Since the 19th century to our present day, the city has been depicted in graphics, illustrations and art. Aron from Kangeq pictured towns and residences in the 1850s. From the founding of Grafisk Værksted (now Greenland’s Art School) in 1972, graphic prints with apartment buildings can be seen in Nuuk and many other places in Greenland. Settlements are a widely used motif in Greenlandic art. Some artists question the place of man in relation to the city, some challenge modernisation, some emphasize particular parts of the city, and some study the architecture of the urban environment.

“When we look at the last 150 years of Greenlandic visual art, we very often see the city depicted. We see it in the works of the newly graduated art school students works that are currently on display in Katuaq, we see it in the then Grafisk Værksted’s collection from the 1970s and 1980s. We see it in depictions of the colonies, we see it in Frederik ‘Kunngi’ Kristensen’s paintings and prints, and we see buildings photographed almost as sculptures in the urban space. In Greenland’s art history, these works have often been overlooked, and there have been few studies of the urban space in art. We hope to change that with this exhibition.”

From the colonial manager Jacob A. A. Arøe (1803-1870), to Aron from Kangeq (1822-1869), Hans Lynge (1906-1988), Anne-Birthe Hove (1951-2012), Mike Lynge (b. 1976) and Ivínguak’ Stork Høegh (b. 1982) as well as digital photographers today, you see that houses, buildings, signs of life in the city are depicted in works. We see that the artist’s work both with the more polished aspects of a city, the architectural, the picturesque, the city in a beautiful sunset. But they also work with the unpolished, urban environment with graffiti, industry and construction. The exhibition shows the artists’ depiction of the city in all its aspects, from the classic paintings and prints to recent photography and other media. In addition to the exhibition, Nuuk Art Museum issued a censored open-call for artists and photographers, several of whom have been selected and can be seen in the exhibition.

The exhibition opens on Friday the 21st of June at 2 pm with free entrance, and can be seen until the 15th of September 2024.

The exhibition is funded by Greenland’s Home Rule Government Tips and Lottery Funds.