‘Pooŋojorteq’ the hunter, was painted from a photograph byWilliam Thalbitzer of him in the remote East Greenland settlement of Ammassalik in 1906.
This wall is part of Grassroots project by myself, Stefán Óli and Filmmaker Ari Rannveigarson from Fenrir Films to paint and document the placement of street art in Greenland.
Painted on Blok 5 of the housing Bloks in Nuuk built in the 1950’s in an attempt by the Danish government to rapidly modernise Greenlandic society and its Inuit population. Through the closing down of social services in the remote settlements a proud hunter/gathering society was forcibly moved into these urban Blok’s to work industrial jobs in the city. This rapid change from traditional cultural practices over 1 generation resulted in high rates of suicide, alcoholism and many other social problems. Many of the Bloks are now in so far need of repair, it will be cheaper to knock them down. The painting of these walls although just on face value seemed to re-raise what seemed like an endless discussion on the living conditions and maintenance of these houses. Blok 5 was also the site of an explosion due to some dodgy gas heating system in 1970 killing 12 people.
Documentary to be released about this in the future…