Maurice Hall HaycockCanada's Arctic Artist
Maurice Hall Haycock

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arctic quest
Arctic Quest - Making Artistic History

July 22, 2006 twenty-five artists marked the 100th anniversary of Amundsen’s 1906 navigation through the Northwest passage with a northern journey of their own.

During a twelve day voyage, the group Arctic Quest recorded their impressions on canvas, paper and film as they visit remote Arctic communities to paint and distribute art supplies. On their return they will participate in an ambitious program of exhibitions, film, workshops, lectures, student exchanges and historical projects, all planned to coincide with International Polar Year taking place 2007-09.

Arctic Quest was conceived by artists Linda Mackey of Toronto, Kathy Haycock of Eganville Ontario and Bonnie Levinthal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The exciting adventure is inspired by artists who went before: artists who recordied images on the early European voyages of discovery, Group of Seven artists A. Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris and Fred Varley, and more recent artists Doris McCarthy and the late Dr. Maurice Haycock, all of whom went to the Arctic to paint and were profoundly influenced and infected with a passion for the North. Following in their footsteps and creating a path of their own, the 25 contemporary artists intend to interpret and share their passion for the Arctic between North and South, from East to West. They hope to draw attention northern issues such as climate change, sovereignty and the fragile environment, and to encourage and stimulate artistic expression by Inuit youth.

Arctic Quest was officially launched in January 2005 by Doris McCarthy and astronaut/Arctic photographer Roberta Bondar at Toronto’s First Canadian Place. This past spring, participating artists donated paintings, and generous donors contributed a variety of items, to be auctioned for fundraising. On March 25 Sotheby’s Auction House raised over $55,000 during a gala event at the historic Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. A painting of Pangnirtung Fiord donated by Doris McCarthy brought $6,000 which is destined to assist young and emerging Inuit artists.

Supporters of the project include the Office of the Governor General of Canada, Parks Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, Government of Norway, International Polar Year Secretariat, Toronto Star, Sotheby’s, Elmer's Products, Inc. and Mark's Work Wearhouse.

Art education and the Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s Twinning Initiative were already in progress during the past school year and will be expanded next fall. The group hopes to bring about the restoration of an historic building in Pangnirtung for use by local and visiting artists. The building was built in 1926 by Maurice Haycock and Lud Weeks of the Geological Survey of Canada (see ‘The Geological Survey’s First Arctic Research Station’, Canadian Geographic Magazine April/May 1991).

Arctic Quest will create a culturally and historically important body of artwork. The touring exhibitions of contemporary, historical and Inuit art and educational programs will provide an exciting insight on the Arctic for Canadians and international audiences. Exhibition venues have already been confirmed in Vancouver, Toronto and Philadelphia PA, USA and more will be added.

For more information on Arctic Quest and updates on exhibition dates and locations go to

Above excerpt is from Arctic Quest's Canadian Geographic Press Release, April 2006.

Arctic Quest 2006
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