For information on opening hours, please call the local museum at (+299) 81 94 20 (Kangaamiut municipal office)
Kangaamiut is one of three smaller villages/settlements administratively linked to the larger town of Maniitsoq. The community has approx. 350 inhabitants and is considered one of the larger settlements in Greenland.
The exhibition includes paintings, birdskin wall hangings and carved figurines made of ivory and soapstone.
Works by famous local artists are on display, including Esra Berthelsen, Aron Berthelsen, Mads Kreutzmann, Peter Rosing and Lauritz Larsen.
History of Kangaamiut:
The original settlement of Kangaamiut was established as a colony in the year 1755 and was given the Danish/Norwegian name “Sukkertoppen” (“Zuikerbroot” by Dutch whalers and traders) by Norwegian merchant Anders Olsen (1718-1786). This occurred towards the end of the Dutch barter trading period, from the mid-1600s to the mid-1700s. The colony was later moved to its present location of Maniitsoq Sukkertoppen, since it was considered that the booming whaling trade would be more profitable in this area and the harbor conditions were better. Another reason was to counter the growing commercial influence of Dutch merchants. The name “Sukkertoppen”/”Zuikerbroot” followed the colony to its new location, despite the fact that the name refers to the snowy mountains near Kangaamiut that look like a sugar loaf.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Kangaamiut blossomed as an important center of artistic activity. This creative community was primarily influenced by members of the Rosing and Kreutzmann families, but several other talented individuals also belonged to this local circle of artists.
Even in the mid-1900s, artwork from Kangaamiut remained in high demand, and ships would frequently make stops at Kangaamiut to purchase artwork.
The artwork from Kangaamiut is particularly well known for its detailed carvings of figurines. The materials used for these artifacts were mainly walrus tusk, narwhal tusk and teeth from sperm whales. In addition, soapstone and driftwood carvings were highly coveted. The driftwood originated mainly from large forests in Siberia, drifted south with the current along the east coast of Greenland, and then drifted north along the island’s west coast. Greenland has no forests and the only wood of sufficient size and quantity for such artistic endeavors would be driftwood, which, in contrast to imported wood, could collected for free along the shoreline, but was also best suited for carving after having been hardened and “cured” by the salt water. Even today, works of art from Kangaamiut are still considered collectors’ items.
During colonial times, Christianity in certain parts of Greenland, particularly in Kangaamiut, was strongly influenced by the German missionaries known as the Moravian Brethren, who helped shape Lutheran Pietism. In some instances, religious differences grew large enough to spark accusations of heresy, especially from adherents of the Danish/Norwegian view of Christianity. The unorthodox religious sect led by Habakuk and Maria Magdalene, and immortalized in the novel “The Prophets of Eternal Fjord” by Kim Leine, is sometimes referred to as the first Greenlandic struggle for freedom and liberty.