Inuit Cartography


In Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), the Inuit people are known for carving portable maps out of driftwood to be used while navigating coastal waters. These pieces, which are small enough to be carried in a mitten, represent coastlines in a continuous line, up one side of the wood and down the other. The maps are compact, buoyant, and can be read in the dark.

These three wooden maps show the journey from Sermiligaaq to Kangertittivatsiaq, on Greenland’s East Coast. The map to the right shows the islands along the coast, while the map in the middle shows the mainland and is read from one side of the block around to the other. The map to the left shows the peninsula between the Sermiligaaq and Kangertivartikajik fjords.

Source: Topografisk Atlas Grønland

Danish Colonialism Reversed


Denmark (2004) by Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen and Inuk Silis Hoegh

“As part of my joint project Melting Barricades (2004-2005) with Inuk Silis Høegh I conceived the idea for the map of Denmark on the way to Kangerlussuaq looking at an in-flight magazine from Air Greenland. From the plane you could see all the beautiful glaciers with Danish royal names. What if Greenland did the same in Denmark, but with ice and new names? It was a sarcastic comment to the good and bad sides of the colonial era, but also to the ”big brother” Denmark, who were warring in Afghanistan. The map of Denmark has been exhibited various places and appeared in many different contexts – having a direct appeal to many people. In 2012 it was used as a stamp by Post Greenland, and most recently (2014) I printed it on a t-shirt.”
– Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen