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Maktak and Gasoline by Ellis Doeven

Maktak and Gasoline by Ellis Doeven

Regular price $ 60.00
My first trip to Point Hope was at the end of September 2008. I had jumped at the opportunity to travel to Alaska, but had no idea what to expect. My knowledge of the Arctic was based upon a few books and articles. 

This community of people, with a way of life centered around whale hunting, fascinated and captured me. I returned to Point Hope six months later, this time during whaling season. I met Art Oomittuk Jr. of Point Hope and soon both of us were going back and forth between Amsterdam and Point Hope each year. 

My understanding of life in Point Hope grew and so did my photo series. In 2011, our daughter, Anna Kupaaq, was born in Amsterdam. The first time we brought her to Point Hope she was seven weeks old. She is growing up with a foot in each culture. 

Over the years, I started to understand my immediate attraction to the community. When I land in Point Hope, time stops. My own culture is so driven by clock time and it is a relief to be where nature dictates the rhythm of life—where life is more about the present than striving to be something bigger and better somewhere in the future. I often feel unease being from a western culture when I am in Point Hope. Western expansionism has threatened the community—taking land, taking whales, leaving nuclear waste, wanting oil. 

I came to Point Hope on my own exploration drive, but after arriving I felt there was something I had to learn. I was fascinated by the culture so different to my own but with people just like me. I was touched by the closeness of the community and shocked by the trauma—people having gone through a roller-coaster of changes in a short period of time. I am amazed at how they respond as one living organism, pulling together, focusing on their values and strength—as the proud people of Tikigaq; as Tikigaqmiut. 

Connecting to Point Hope and its people has opened my mind and has opened my heart. Through these pictures I hope to also open the hearts of others. 

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