NOMAD LAND, our project in Greenland

Nomad Land is an artistic and inclusive multimedia project that seeks to explore and revitalize Greenlandic traditional wisdom and myths from the coast.

Yeray Lopez Portillo
Yeray Lopez Portillo
Takes 5 minutes
When the concept of human dominion over nature is questioned, the door opens for a multiplicity of relational bonds with fellow creatures and the world (Skeen, 2013)

Why did we decide to begin the quest in Greenland?

Although the magical and the mysterious seem to have been forgotten in modern societies, myths and imagination have been our historical connectors to the wonders of nature, as well as sources of knowledge and social cohesion. Those closer to the natural world, the animal psyche and the elements, were respected members of society, taken in high esteem and consulted. They were the ones who had a deep understanding of how to abide by nature and thrive. But who is trying to see like an eagle now, sing like a whale or stand like a tree? Where has that connection gone in the globalized world of today? Where is the awe for what’s known to be the most rare and precious thing in the universe which is life, in whatever form? - Visit our next article about this project.

There is no denial to the fact that we are entering an environmental state of emergency. The overall intention of “Nomad Land” is to raise awareness about the need to care for nature from an artistic, inclusive and multifaceted approach. This project promotes education and cultural exchange among people, while helping develop skills and stories that can be used to bring forth local perspectives with global interests. We hope that you help us with your subscription continue with this project.

Greenland
Photo by Anders Nord 

Summary

The project works with the creative expression of people, and has filmmaking as a tool for personal growth, as well as a means to raise awareness about the need to act now on climate change. Nomad Land will relate Greenlandic traditional stories, with universal values on human connection to nature, through the production of films, audio, and an online photo exhibition. All content is made in collaboration with local youth and Greenlandic artists. The chosen stories will inspire other coastal communities in the Nordic countries to explore and share their myths and tales, hoping that we all engage in a conversation about the importance of reconnecting with nature, preserve traditional wisdom, and lead sustainable lives.

About the project “NOMAD LAND"

There are places where the presence of nature is so powerful, so overwhelmingly beautiful and hard, that it becomes difficult not to think about the ancestral connection with it as a whole. Life, after all, is a rare happening too often forgotten and easily lost in places like these.

In that fabulous tapestry of interconnected realities that life is, one could argue that local voices should be able to participate in how local futures are represented, express their opinions and have an influence. But that is not always the case, especially when those voices speak of ways semi whipped out by globalization, and of a worldview that might be only fully understood in a wider context of connection with nature.

But the series of short films on the relationship between mythology and nature that we would like to produce with your help, is not only about what was wise before, learned and enlighten. This series is about today and tomorrow, and the need to look back and pick up something we forgot along the way to modernity.

Here you have the names of some of the myths we would like to explore, mixed with our images (Nicklas Levin) and the music from our previous documentary (Arturo Cardelús).

The Greenlandic mythical creatures

CREATURES CAST DESCRIPTION
Clip above

Although there is much research to do into finding what are the creatures or stories that the series will cover, here there is a list of some of them which have our interest. In collaboration with the Greenland National Museum & Archives and local storytellers, we will give depth to these figures.

AAJUMAAQ - The sleeved one - Narrator

AAJUMAAQ is known and feared across all of Greenland; it has served as a helper spirit to some of the greatest angakkut such as Naaja, Maratsi… and others. AAJUMAAQ not only acts as a helper spirit, but also as a creature of vengeance when an angakkoq uses it to attack his enemies. It often accompanies an angakkoq on his spirit journey to the other world as its strength makes it a powerful weapon against evil spirits or enemies wanting to kill the angakkuq on his travels. But first the angakkuq needs to master or ally himself with the helper spirit.

AASSIK - The giant worm

AASSIK is a giant worm that appears in many different stories across Greenland. It is often found near the dogs’ hitching posts where it lives in a hole underground and tries to eat the puppies

IKKIILLINEQANNGEQQISSAARTOQ - Who never gets blunt

IKKIILLINEQANNGEQQISSAARTOQ is a creature with an incredibly hard sharp saw or a long pointy knife blade on its back. To defend itself it will jump up with its back to its attacker and cut them.”

AMAROQ - The Wolf

AMAROQ is a giant wolf that haunts the edge of the ice cap and the icecap itself. It likes to make its den on plains with cotton grass. Here it feeds on reindeer and it is so big that it can carry a whole reindeer in its mouth.

IMMAP NANUA - The bear of the sea

"IMMAP NANUA is a huge polar bear. It is not to be confused with NAPPAASILAT or SERMILISSUAQ because this bear is so big that it can wade through fjords and only gets wet up to its waist.”

NAPPAASILAT - The spirit bear

NAPPAASILAT is a big polar bear with a bluish fur and a neck that is almost as wide as its body. It is most often found in inland lakes.

"… It can have several functions, but acts primarily as a kind of portal for an apprentice angakkuq so that he can become a fully-fledged angakkuq.”

QAJARIAQ - The giant kayak man

The seas, the waters are his domain and contemplation. "QAJARIAQ can be seriously bloodthirsty and aggressive and has a habit of tying body parts from anyone he kills to his qajaq. He can cause bad weather by blowing into a small pipe which brings about a storm.”

QAQQAT NAALAGAAT - The lord of the mountains

"QAQQAT NAALAGAAT is the biggest and steepest of all the mountains and can, with the help of a skilled angakkuq, feed a starving settlement.”

MALIINA - The Sun

MALIINA is a beautiful young woman who wonders across the sky during the day. She only has one breast and holds a torch made from moss with which she light up the world.”

KILIFFAK - The Scraper

KILIFFAK is a big, long haired creature with six, and sometimes ten – legs. It is bigger than a polar bear and has a long body due to its many legs.“

QIVITTUT - Mountain wanderers

QIVITTUT are known and found across all of Greenland, in older as well as in recent times. They are created when someone leaves their settlement in shame, in anger or in grief. This person will walk far across the mountains or the icecap in order to sever contact with all other people, and live either in solitude or together with other QIVITTUT”


Notes on creatures taken from the book “Bestiarium Groenlandica


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Yeray Lopez Portillo

My focus is on creating content that entertains, enlightens and sparks dialogue.