• Beyond the Gallery

How to Curate an Immersive Performance Journey on the Land

Aug 10, 2023
by Reneltta Arluk

Spanning theatre, dance, music, puppetry and performance art in both contemporary and traditional practices, Nuihařuq—meaning “visible from a distance”—was the performance-arts component of the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit. Connection to land and story was the thematic focus of Nuihařuq, with multiple venues paralleling the Yukon River to offer a performance journey spanning the circumpolar North.
The IAQ spoke with Reneltta Arluk, the Inuvialuk/Gwich’in/Denesuline/Cree artistic director of Nuihařuq on the event.


A member of Yukon’s Dakhká Khwáan Dancers at the Arctic Arts Summit's Nuihařuq

I thought the title Nuihařuq was appropriate because we brought in people from all across the circumpolar North and we see each other from afar. In many ways, we are borderless because we are all engaged with each other in some capacity.

We’ve been sitting in one spot, in front of our computers, for like two years [so] I thought it would be great to get people moving and take advantage of the beautiful landscape in the Yukon and the beautiful venue that is the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre. Nuihařuq was five glorious hours of incredible entertainment on the second day of the Arctic Arts Summit. It started at 6:30 PM and went right till midnight.


Beatrice Deer
at the Arctic Arts Summit’s Nuihařuq

We used three outdoor sites and brought in puppets to help navigate the multiple venues. Wherever you were, the Yukon River was right there. We commissioned a local professional theatre company, Nakai Theatre, to make fish puppets that guided the audience so that no one was left behind. The procession, led by the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers Group, was conceived to activate the audience and to get them used to the fact that they would be moving throughout the evening. 

Nuihařuq featured spoken-word storytelling, traditional drumming, contemporary dance, traditional dance, full-band, solo performances, hip-hop—we had it all—but it was curated in a way that everyone was open to receiving these different performances. I wanted people to have different experiences and I wanted to make sure that the artists were performing at venues that suited their work. People left healed. The next day, the artists and the audience were talking about how they left the event feeling so full. It was like you were being held, like you couldn’t be left behind.

Explore the other events from the 2022 Arctic Arts Summit

Read more about Nuihařuq on the  Arctic Arts Summit Digital Platform

Suggested Reads

Related Artists