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Dimitra Lavrakas contact the artist contact the artist

I fell in love with the Arctic in 1994 when I established the Barrow, Alaska, bureau for The Arctic Sounder newspaper. I return as much as possible to see friends, monitor changes in the environment and landscape. I just plain miss it.

I value the way in which the Arctic sharpened my senses – the variations in the color white, whether to cross over a snow drift safely by listening to the squeak my pack boots made, or being prepared to go anywhere in any kind of weather.

To me, the Arctic is not a “barren wasteland,” but a unique place in the world where ultimate freedom is obtained by just stepping off the gravel road and slogging across the tundra in any direction toward the horizon line. In summer, the tundra smells as sweet and teems with as much life as any Lower 48 garden. Snowy owls dive for lemmings, the sound of a bumblebee is detectable from a long way away, and red phalaropes swim jerkily around in the pond like a duck in a shooting gallery.

The Arctic’s natural balance is so delicate, so precarious.

In 1994, when Inupiaq Elder Sadie Brower Neakok told me the ice cellars were melting, I didn’t really grasp the significance. I do now. Hopefully, we all do.

1994 to 1997: Established a one-person news bureau for the weekly newspaper, The Arctic Sounder, covering the remote North Slope of Alaska. Reported and photographed the cultural, political, historical, scientific, and daily activities of this unique area with a predominant population of Inupiat Eskimo. I was also an Adjunct Journalism Professor at Ilisagvik College in Barrow, where I taught journalism by phone and in the classroom to adult and high school students in rural villages on the North Slope of Alaska.
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Dimitra Lavrakas
Email: dimitralavrakas@hotmail.com
Web: www.dimitralavrakas.com
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