Published: March. 10, 2012
As an artist I go by the name Ireland. I have UK, Scottish & First Nations roots. I paint on canvas and I do multi-media industrial art. I also have a particular interest in building Inukshuks.
I build them at Nexen Beach from time to time. The west coast is definitely in my bones. I have enjoyed many west coast beaches since my early years “beach-combing” on Balmoral beach in Comox, BC.
I find a lot of enjoyment in making each Inukshuk character different. I call them “guys.” I often use a mix of concrete chunks, asphalt chunks, stones & driftwood.
I find all the pieces from within a small radius of the spot where I build each one. I make a point of also picking up all the garbage that I can see from the point where I am building. I want to be someone who leaves everywhere I go better than I found it.
As I walk around I scan the beach for pieces to make my Inukshuk “guy.” If I don’t find them I keep going. I am inspired by Walt Disney and his “imagineers,” and I would like to suggest that we could all benefit from re-igniting our imagination now and again.
They stand until the wind, or someone, knocks them over. Sometimes I have returned the next day to find all the pieces gone, (not knocked down and around on the spot) which leads me to believe that somebody may have liked it enough to load it in their vehicle. I get a kick out of seeing how long each one will last.
I make them as a temporary monument to represent & point to several things to those who pass by: 1) we can leave a positive impact instead of a negative impact when we go to the beach; 2) a healthy imagination is key in enjoying life again (especially when you feel like you’ve lost the plot); 3) human life can make art and enjoyment out of rubble; 4) “children create, adults destroy” does not have to be our destiny; among many other messages!
It is fun to see people’s positive responses as they notice the inukshuks…especially children.
Each one is a blend of Industry and the natural beauty of Earth. This demonstrates on a simplistic level that with imagination and a little effort it is possible that industry could blend more coherently & aesthetically with the environment.
“The mysterious stone figures known as inuksuit can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means “in the likeness of a human” in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is “Someone was here” or “You are on the right path.”
…An inukshuk (also known as inuksuk) is often venerated as symbolizing an ancestor who knew how to survive on the land traditional way. A familiar inukshuk is a welcome sight to a traveler on a featureless and forbidding landscape.”
(Quote from “What is an Inukshuk?”@ www.inukshukgallery.com)
I can only hope that indeed I am on the right path as I have trudged along in what has been at times a very forbidding landscape. If you can relate to that, head outside and try building a monument of your own. The process is quite cathartic, as is the outcome.