As a society, Greenland is in the middle of an exciting period which is naturally reflected in its art. Greenland is a small and isolated society which hinders it from reaching a critical mass in respect to art. It is also worth noting how much the political direction influences art production because Greenland is in the middle of a period of developing an identity.
There are both political and broader social expectations that art produced in Greenland ought to have a strong connection with the country in order to be considered Greenlandic art, for example, through the use of mystic and/or ethnic symbols. This results in artists being given the role as the noble bearer of culture which again plays a major role in the development of a national identity; in that way self reinforcing.
The process of refining this identity is relatively new and has resulted in a focus and engagement in the Inuit identity and its attendant cultural heritage which forms a unified Greenlandic identity. This same constructed identity is used both nationally and internationally for promoting an exotic, ethnic and aboriginal land in order to signal its own unique characteristics and thus strengthen its own image of its self as an independent nation.
Crafts and folk art based and developed on ethnic and historic traditions have blossomed in tempo with the increasing interest in Greenland. It is only recently that throughout Greenland the separation between crafts and established art has been awakened.
It is also more clear now that both branches have their own point of departure and goals. For example it is the merchants that sell craft objects as souvenirs which in connection with tourism provides an experience of something curious, clearly related to the folklore connected with the land’s early history.
The younger generation of artists are today aware of the present process of identity construction and more generally their role as artists both nationally and globally. They are about to separate themselves
From the role of cultural representative and reject this expectation. They criticize conventions and create debate and critical reflection. They are free of the commercial system and part of the critical. They have expanded the art concept in Greenland by working with installation art, performance, video art, film and the like, in order to get their concepts in front of the social agenda. Parallel with this process, Greenland will in the near future establish its own national museum and gallery which will also reinforce this discourse in the society.
The directions in this connection are, in Greenland, not different from those in other countries and in my opinion there is just a time slip between some of the patterns of development. Art and the related cultural development offers in exciting and relevant reflection of the social development in Greenland.