November 22, 2018 | 10:30 am - 11:45 am
During a career that has spanned more than 25 years, Susan Aglukark’s journey as a singer-songwriter has led her to reflect on who she is, where she comes from and the importance of discovery – discovery of history, culture and self.
Susan is the first Inuk artist to win a Juno Award (three) and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement; she is an officer of the Order of Canada, holds several Honorary Doctorate degrees and has held command performances. Susan also acknowledges the path has not been easy.
During the past 25 years of reflection and songwriting, Susan kept coming back to one area of profound knowing: the Inuit are an extraordinary people deeply grounded in a culture forged by their Ancestors, their journey is what shaped them.
The Indigenous people in Canada come from highly organized societies built on knowledge, process and organization – without which none of us would have survived.
For Susan, art has played a significant role in her healing journey and in the rewriting of her narrative, she believes it plays an important role for indigenous youth who are dealing with contemporary identity issues today.
Susan has always been very open about how her own fears and personal trauma that left her disillusioned and disconnected. Born in Arviat, Nunavut, her parents’ formative years were in traditional Inuit culture, while her formative years were not traditional and were somewhat disconnected from her culture.
Despite the success she experienced in the 1990s, by 1998 she was suffering from post-partum depression and found herself in a dark place in need of time to reflect and heal, what followed was the several years of reflection, healing and making deeper commitments to her singing/songwriting career.
And so, began what Susan calls her “awakening.” As she learned more about her culture and the strength and resilience of the Inuit who have been on this land for more than 5,000 years, Susan was also engaging her own “inner artist” and falling in love with performing, sharing stories and singing.
Through her music, Susan continues to share her experiences as an Inuk growing up in Nunavut, as well as the challenges faced by northern communities and Indigenous youth.
Susan is actively involved in various projects to bring food and support to northern communities and in 2016 the Arctic Rose Foundation gained charitable status with a focus on helping youth in the north through art and other engaging creative projects.