December 27, 2021

Christmas in Vancouver: Inukshuk, By Photographer Ken Ohrn

West End resident Ken Ohrn is a talented photographer. Here he perfectly captures Christmas this year, with the ominous changing sky bringing in more snow and the ships in English Bay waiting to unload and depart.  And he also captures the public art piece known locally as  “Inukshuk”.


The Inukshuk is built by Inuit Artist Alvin Kanak of Rankin Inlet Nunavut.  It is constructed of granite blocks and weighs over 31,500 kilograms and stands over six meters high.

Erected in 1986 it was based upon the Inukshuk built for the Northwest Territories Pavillion  on the old Expo 86 site.  In situ in the Arctic Inukshuks are wayfinding markers for distance or sign posts that can be spotted over flat terrain on the horizon.

While traditional Inukshuks are smaller in the north, Mr. Kanak says in his artist statement that the figure is a “reminder of the ingenuity of my people in addressing transportation and communications challenges prior to the introduction of modern technology.”

You can listen to this informative YouTube video with Peter Irniq an Inuit cultural activist who explains why this public art sculpture with a head and arms and legs is really not an Inukshuk. There’s some fascinating examples of early inukshuks in the video.

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