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This summer, Repulse Bay hopes to officially revert its name back to Naujaat—meaning seagulls’ nesting place—so the Nunavut hamlet may need a “Welcome to Naujaat” sign for its airport. 

Luckily, it’s got a fresh crop of mural painters itching to go at it.

Repulse Bay senior administrative officer Kowesa Etitiq is bursting with pride over the town’s first mural, adorning the wall at the youth centre located in the community hall. “It’s just a gorgeous piece of artwork,” he says.

The roughly 45-square-metre mural was painted by a group of 15 students in just seven days in late February, under the instruction of Ontario-based artist Craig Clark, whose murals are splashed throughout Iqaluit. 

“What really impressed me was that, on the first day, the kids were asking, ‘What should we do? Is this okay?’” says Clark. “Then, on the second and third days, they started figuring things out on their own. By Friday, they weren’t asking me anything except for, ‘We’re out of brushes.’”

“I was thinking it’s my own paper, it’s my book so I can decide how to do it,” says Suzanne
Putulik, one of a handful of students who stayed late every evening throughout the week so the mural could be finished on time. 

Each of the animals depicted in the mural were chosen because they have sustained people living in the area for millennia, says Etitiq. 

“It makes me feel really proud that I got involved in all that,” says student Melanie Yank. “It stands out and it tells about how Repulse is.”