Travellers landing at Kugluktuk’s airport in the future will be greeted by a large new welcome sign, and Nancy Kadlun is the one responsible for the look of it.
Kadlun won a recent Hamlet of Kugluktuk competition to design a replacement “welcome to Kugluktuk” sign that will be approximately five metres wide by 3.5 metres high, making it close to three times bigger than the existing signage.
“I never thought I’d win. I was just drawing stuff and I forgot about (the contest), and I got a phone call and I got surprised (by news of the outcome). How exciting,” Kadlun said, giggling.
She works at the community’s heritage centre, a building shaped like an ulu. Her sign design also features an ulu.
“If it wasn’t for our ancestors, we would never be here today,” Kadlun said of the historical significance of the cutting tool. “And I put blue water at the bottom because Kugluktuk means ‘constantly flowing water.’”
The sign also includes a reference to Kugluktuk being the home of the Grizzlies, which was given renewed prominence last year by the film produced, in part, by Kugluktuk’s own Stacey Aglok MacDonald.
Kadlun said she put a couple of days of thought and work into her winning entry. She said she doesn’t consider herself a “real artist,” but she’s always enjoyed dabbling in drawing with her grandchildren.
She can earn $1,000 by painting her design onto plywood and clear coating it to protect it from the elements.
She has an idea of how she’ll spend her earnings.
“I have lots of grandkids. I always buy food for them and whatever,” she said.