Through a retreat for artists and writers the Upernavik Museum wishes to develop an artistic atmosphere, where an artist or a small group of artists can work comfortably. With the Greenlandic culture and nature as source of inspiration, the museum strives for an international art atmosphere through hosting artists.
Some kind of open workshop should be arranged in agreement with the Curator, in order to give the local population an idea of the artists working methods.
At the latest six months after the artist’s departure from Upernavik, he or she has to deliver a work made in connection to the stay in Retreat Upernavik to Upernavik Museum. In particular cases, like in the case of the artist being a writer or a poet, the Museum Board can exempt from this regulation.
During the restoration of the buildings in the old part of the town, the town council decided that the old cooper’s shop should be established as an artist’s residence. Since the construction in 1848 the building has been domicile for craftsmen. During the 19th century, it was the cooper who manufactured the barrels for storing and transportation of the oil from seals and whales in the house. Later on the building has been domicile for the baker who used it for the making of various delicacies.
Today, after the restoration, the outside of the house, known as “the Old Bakery” B-11, stands as original. Among the original details is the pointed roof. Indoor one will find a small and modern flat containing a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. The house is perfect for 1-2 persons, but if people know each other well it is possible to be more. In this way it is the intention that artists, who come to live in the house, will be given comfortable and pleasant surroundings and thereby will have the best conditions for working with art or possibly writing.
The museum is responsible for the technical installations in the building B-11.
In Upernavik the nature provides for great contrasts: chalk-white icebergs and grey and black gneiss- and basalt rocks makes, together with the sea, most of the scenery. The vegetation is scattered, but rich coloured if one looks carefully between the rocks. The biggest contrast though is constituted by the seasons in the high-arctic climate: During the summer the sun does not leave the sky for three months, leaving the people completely in charge of day and night. In this period many people change day and night about – but what does it matter, as long as one makes it to the shop before closing time.
Contrary to the summertime, the darkness of the winter to many southerners seems like a terrible and nasty time lying in wait. But whenever one gets accustomed to the darkness it proves to be a peaceful time that leaves the time for absorption that one usually lacks. During this period the moon is an important source of light when walking on the ice, and all over a starry sky unfolds that is unique to the arctic night.