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Greenland’s first trained goldsmith

“It is important for me to make jewelry where we as a people can show how proud we are of our culture and heritage."

 Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Greenland’s first trained goldsmith Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann creates jewelry with inspiration from Greenlandic history and culture: “My jewelry reflects the city of Nuuk because Nuuk is a fusion of the traditional and the modern.”

Small charming Greenlandic type-houses. The distinctive and captivating silhouette of Sermitsiaq. Bladderwrack, Inuit tattoos and sealskin – these are the motifs that Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann skillfully incorporates into her jewelry. And it’s no coincidence:

“I draw inspiration from my daily surroundings,” Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann explains before continuing:

“I’m a history enthusiast, particularly about our heritage up until colonization.. Because of that I am attentive to all the things I see in my daily life which are a part of our old legends and myths. Passing by bladderwrack during a hike can spark my creativity for jewelry, as I recognize bladderwrack’s historical significance.”

A new chapter

Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann stands as Greenland’s sole formally educated goldsmith, completing her studies in the summer of 2022. Just three days after her final exam, she was aboard the plane Norsaq, bound for Nuuk. A long-awaited journey. Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann has always split her time between Denmark and Greenland with a parent each place, but after a long period in Denmark getting her goldsmith degree, she eagerly awaited her return to Greenland. Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann and her family wanted Nuuk as a home for their future life.

Her return to Nuuk marked the beginning of a new chapter with her own goldsmith-business. A dream that is now alive and well from  her improvised workspace nestled within the heart of the family’s home in central Nuuk. In this space Nadja crafts jewelry for private clientele, while simultaneously preparing for two upcoming exhibitions. At the core of her efforts lies jewelry deeply intertwined with Greenlandic culture. And that hold important significance for Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann for several reasons:

“It is important for me to make jewelry where we as a people can show how proud we are of our culture and heritage. There’s a lot of prejudice against us, and I think it is very important to make jewelry of high quality using local material. This showcases our ability to oversee the entire creative process, from idea to the final piece, right here in Greenland.”

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

The beginning of interest

It was in Nuuk that Nadja’s fascination with the craft started. At the age of 9 Nadja melted silver under the guidance of a local self-taught goldsmith, and it was love at first sight:

“As a child, there was a self-taught goldsmith who had a workshop at my mother’s workplace. One day I was permitted to melt silver in a crucible. As the silver transformed into liquid, I poured it into a bowl of water, watching as it solidified into a shape right when it hit the water. At that precise moment, I was captivated,”  she says.

And the childlike joy of the profession has not disappeared:

“The aroma of metal and tools I recall from the workshop in my childhood still evokes a lot of emotions. I still think it’s just as cool as I did back then.”

When Nadja sits at her workbench with black fingertips and engraves details as fine as a strand of hair, she is in full focus. Her eyes rigidly directed at the small piece of jewelry. Interestingly, she has discovered that her vision is sharpest at the distance typical of jewelry’s placement from her eyes. Nadja must be calm, any lapse could lead to a mistake in her work. The calmness helps in various ways:

“Just sitting at my workbench has a meditative effect on me, and can help anxiety go away. In addition to the sense of calm I regain upon returning to Nuuk, working on my jewelry consistently brings me a sense of peace.”

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Aspirations for the future

Her aspiration for the future is that her workbench at home turns into a real workshop. Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann and Kristine Kreutzmann, a local ceramicist, have recently secured approval to construct three small type-houses in the area between Katuaq and the town hall. The small houses will function as both workshops and a shop. Nadja envisions a future where a cluster of creative workshops flourishes in continuation of each other and that she herself will have enough space and experience to mentor more Greenlandic goldsmiths. At the center of it all is the goal of creating inclusive jewelry:

“Here in Nuuk, we are such a mixed crowd, and I love that. I see it as an advantage that there is so much diversity. My jewelry is intended for all. Regardless of gender or ethnicity. Maybe because my own mixed heritage, and the fact that I have my mother is now married to a woman,” she says.

Beyond this, Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann hopes that her jewelry can help create positive change for Nuuk and Greenland:

“I hope that I can help break down prejudices about us and from us. It is one of my dreams.”

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Kalaallit Nunaanni siullerpaalluni guldimik saffiortunngortoq Nadja Kreutzmann Kalaallit Nunaata oqaluttuassartaanik isumassarsiorluni pinnersaasianik pilersitsivoq: ’’Pinnersaasiakka illoqarfiup Nuup tarrarsorfigai, Tassa Nuup ilisarnaatigimmagit, ileqqutoqqat nutaaliaasullu kattunneraq.’’

Kalaallit Nunaanni kuultinik pinnersaasiortoq ilinniarsimasoq siulleq Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann kalaallit oqaluttuaat kulturiallu aallaavigalugu pinnersaasiortarpoq: “Pinnersaasianni Nuuk aallaavigisarpara, Nuuk tassaammat ileqqutoqqat nutaaliallu ataatsimut kattunneranniittoq.”

Illunnguit nuannersut ilisarnartut. Sermitsiap immikkuullarissumik tarratut ersernera kusanartoq. Equutit (qeqqussat), inuit kakiorneri, puisillu amii. Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmannip pinnersaasiamini kalaallit oqaluttuarisaanerannit kulturiannillu assiliartat ilisarnarluartut atortarpai. Tamannalu nalaatsornerunngilaq.

“Ulluinnarni pisuttuaraangama takusakka isumassarsiffigisarpakka,” oqarpoq nangillunilu:

“Oqaluttuarisaanerput qangarnisaq nuannarilluartuuara. Upperisatoqqat qimerlooraanni assigiinngitsorpassuit oqaluttuatoqqani inuttaasut ilaatinneqartut nutaamik eqqumaffiginarsisarput. Maanna pisuttuaraangama equutit (qeqqussat) takusinnaasakka pinnersaasiorninni ilaatissallugit isumassarsiffigisarpakka. ”

Kapitali nutaaq

Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann kuultinik pinnersaasiortutut ilinniagalik Nunatsinni kisiartaavoq. Aasami 2022 ilinniakkani naammassivaa, ilinniakkani inaarutaasumik naammassereerlugu ullut pingajussaanni Nunatsinnut  Norsaq-mik uterpoq. Naatsorsuutaasutut angalaneq sivisooq Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann angajoqqaani immikkut tamarmik Danmarkimi Nunatsinnilu najugallit peqatigalugit piffissaq avillugu atortuartarsimavaa. Piffissami sivisuumi Danmarkimi ilaquttanilu najugaqareerlutik Nuummut uterlutik siunissami nutaamik angerlarsimaffeqalernissaminnut piareerput.

Nuummut uternerata namminersortutut suliffiuteqarluni aallartinnissamut kapitali nutaarluinnaq malunnartippaa. Takorluugaq, Nuup qeqqani ilaqutariit namminneq angerlarsimaffianni utaqqiisaagallartumik sannaveeqqamini ingerlalluarpoq. Tassani Nadja pinnersaatinik sanaatsikkumallutik inniminniisunut sanaassisarpoq aammalu saqqummersitsinissat marluusut piareersarlugit. Tamakku tamarmik assigiissutigaat pinnersaasiat najukkami sorlaqarfeqartut. Tamannalu arlalitsigut Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann-imut pingaaruteqarpoq:

“Uanga pingaartippara pinnersaasiorninni kulturitta sumiillu kingoqqisuunitta inuiattut tulluusimaarutigalugit  ersersinnissaat. Inuiaavugut amerlasoorpassuartigut siumut isummerfigineqareertartut, taamaattumik uannut pingaartorujussuuvoq pinnersaatinik qaffasissumik pitsaassusilimmik sanasarnissara aammalu atortut najukkameersuunerat takutikkumallugu Nunatsinni sunaluunniit aallaqqaataaniit naammassineranut suliarisinnaagivut.”

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Photo – Oscar Scott Carl – Visit Nuuk

Kuultimik saffiortarneq

Nadja Nuummiillunittaaq kuultimik saffiornermik soqutigisaqalerpoq. Nadja 9-nik ukioqarallarami kuultimik saffiortartumi imminik ilinniartissimasumi sølvimik aatsitsigamili suliassaq nuannarilluinnalerpaa:

“Meeraagallarama kuultimik pinnersaasiortoq imminut ilinniartissimasoq anaanama suliffiata eqqaani sannaveqarpoq. Ullut ilaanni aatsitsiviani sølvimik aatsitsillunga misiliisippaanga. Imerpalasunngormat puuguttamut imermik imalimmut kuivara, sølvillu imermut tukkami issorluni ilusininnera puigunngisaannarpara. Uanni nalissaqanngilaq”, oqaluttuarpoq.

Meeraanermi suliarisap nuannersua suli taannaavoq. Minnerulinngilarlu:

“Meeraagallarama sannavimmi taassani sakkuutit savimerngillu tikki naagaangakkit suli misigissuserpassuit qaffakaasarput. Taama pisoqaraangat uanni suli nalissaqanngilaq.”

Nadja sannavimmini issiatilluni pussuni qernertuinnaasut, nutsatut amitsigisunik kigartuigaangami ukkassilluartarpoq. Pinnersaasiani mikisuaraq nakkulluaraangamiuk, paasisimavaa taama qanitsigisumut nakkussilluaraangami pitsaanerpaajusoq, pinnersaatit isiminit isigalugit pitsaanerpaajusut. Eqqissiffaarilluni SULIASSAAVOQ, taamaanngippat pinnersaasiaq kukkuneqassaaq. Tamanna piviusoq Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann-imut iluaqutaavoq:

“Sullivinni nerriviup saavani issianerinnarluunniit eqqarsaqqissaarnertut misinnartarpoq, tassanngaannaq annilaanganissaq pinngitsoortissinnaavaa. Siornagut tassanngaannaq annilaangalertarnikuuvunga, Nuummullu angerlaqqinnera iluaqutigeqaara, sullivinni nerriviup saavanut ingikkaangama pinnersaasiorlungalu eqqissisaatigisarpara.”

Siunissami sannavik

Nerriviup sannaviusup siunissami sannavimmiilernissaa neriuutaavoq. Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann aamma marriortoq Kristine Kreutzmann, typehusinik mikisunik pingasunik nappaanissaminnut, Katuap Kommuneqarfiullu allaffiata akornanni napparneqartussanut akuersissummik pissarseqqammerput. Taakkua sannavittut pisiniarfittullu atuuffeqassapput. Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann siunissami takorloorpai sannaveeqqat uiguleriit arlallit imminnut atasut, namminerlu sapinngisamik inissaqalernissani, misilittagaqaleruni kalaallit amerlanerit kuultimik pinnersaasiornermik ilinniartissinnaaniassagamigit. Pingaarnertulli tamanit anguniagarivaa pinnersaatit assigiinngitsorpassuarnik ilusillit pilersinnissaat:

“Maani Nuummi innuttaasugut assigiinngisitaartuuvugut, tamannalu nuannareqaara. Pinnersaasiakka tamanit atorneqarsinnaassapput. Suiaassuseq suminngaanneernerlu apeqqutaanatik. Immaqalu uanga aaga akusaagami, anaanaqarlungalu maanna arnamut katinnikuusumik,” oqarpoq.

Aamma neriuutigaa, siunissami pinnersaasiani Nuummut Kalaallit nunaannullu ilorraap tungaanut siuarsaaqataajumaartut. Ilaatigut Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann pinnersaasiani aqqutigalugit

“>Neriuutigaara uagut pilluta uagullu nammineq pilluta siumut isummereertarnernik nungusaaqataasinnaallunga. Tamanna takorluukkama ilagivaat:

Nuuk tassaavoq Nadja Arnaaraq Kreutzmann-ip angerlarsimaffigisaa. Taamaattumillu aperivarput illoqarfimmi sammisassarpassuit arlaannik innersuutaqarsinnaanersoq. Akivoq:

“Killut-ni nerisassiat pitsaalluinnartorpassuit misilikkit. Tassani nunatta pissarititaanik nerisassiat annikitsukkuutaat qulit pitsaalluinnartut immiaaqqallu najukkami maqitat nuannerluinnartumik avatangiiseqarlutit pisinnaavatit.”

Oscar Scott Carl

Visual Storyteller, Visit Nuuk