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Northern artists say NAAH to hunger pains in the Arctic 14 Tuesday May 26 2015 ARTS CULTURE ACTIVISM 6.8103 in x 6.3125 in By DALI CARMICHAEL Tired of witnessing the effects of food scarcity and poor nutrition on residents liv- ing above the 60th parallel a small group of artists from Yellowknife is hoping to use soundwaves and brushstrokes to prompt pan- territorial change. Solo artist Casey Koyczan a.k.a. The Bush- man - NT and visual artist Jillian Mazur have teamed up to kick off Northern Artists AgainstHungerNAAHanorganizationthey hope will become the nucleus of a movement to ght food security issues in Nunavut the NWT and the Yukon. Were saying naah to hunger in the North Koyczan said. Its kind of cheeky but I think it works. The duo hopes to connect artists across the territories in a series of concerts and gallery shows to raise funds for soup kitchens and shelters for the communities that need it most. In the future what Id like to see as my vision is numerous events going on in the Yukon NWT and Nunavut and potentially having artists playing in these other cities - not so much artists themselves ying to other cities to play - but those communities host- ing their own events and then being able to donate that money towards the foundations they see t he said. The organization is only just starting up but Koyczan is optimistic about its future. NAAH is already networking with food banks and artists throughout the territories to or- ganize localized fundraisers. The group is also looking for a researcher on Northern communities to identify which ones most urgently need assistance. This is a basic grassroots effort in order for artists and musicians to take these mat- ters into their own hands so that we dont have any bureaucratic blockages in the way Koyczan said. The money that we acquire can go straight back to these shelters and food banks within the areas that are in the most need. Born in Yellowknife and raised in the North Koyczan said he felt the impacts of food scar- city from an early age and found the effects to be more pervasive as he ventured to in- creasingly remote locations. I grew up seeing the minimal efforts that have been made in the North and the effects of food shortages mostly in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories he said. I saw it rst hand when I went up to Inuvik and Tuktoyak- tuk a couple years ago going to the grocery stores and seeing almost nothing. Even lo- cally when the ice road was out sort of thing we had next to no produce. This isnt Koyczans rst foray into activ- ism through art. In March he helped orga- nize the initial For the Land Northern Art- ists Against Fracking event an evening of artistic protest against hydraulic fracking in the NWT. On May 29 he plans to hold a second anti-fracking event at Northern United Place. The NAAH launch party and rst fund- raiser is set to take place at the Top Knight in Yellowknife on May 30. Musical guests have been selected and visual artists are still welcome to sign up. Until he can help facilitate local shows throughout the North Koyczan is encour- aging Northern talent to join the cause by coming to Yellowknife for events if possible or sending their art his way to be displayed. Were artists and were musicians - we dont make a lot of money ourselves - but we have this ability and these talents in order to help other people in order to change lives for other people Koyczan said. This is our way of helping. Artists use their talents to protest fracking in the NWT earlier this year. At the end of May the group will be using their art for activism once again raising funds for northern communities facing food insecurity. PhotoCaseyKoyczan