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Nunavut artist Okpik Pitseolak has been carving stone for nearly 50 years.
Nunavut artist Okpik Pitseolak has been carving stone for nearly 50 years.

Qulliq: lessons from a stone oil lamp

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The winter solstice marks a turning point, as the longest night of the year gives way to the return of spring and summer. No matter where people live, when it's frozen and dark outside, critical needs must be met: shelter and sustenance. Warmth and light. The company of others. Way up North, back in igloo times, the solution to most of that was the qulliq, or stone oil lamp. Although the qulliq has fallen out of general use, it's still a revered symbol of cultural ingenuity. Lucy Martin learned more about the care and use of an Inuit stone oil lamp, while thinking about qualities it still illuminates today.

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