Ame: Resident artist & baby whisperer
Ame Papatsie is a resident artist here at HOPE House. Always a friendly face, Ame can often be found creating art with other community members and children or peacefully rocking babies in his arms while their parents shop or take a break to socialize. Baby whisperer is a term of endearment often associated with Ame.
Ame was born and raised in a little community call Pangnirtung on Baffin Island in Nunavut. Everybody up north knows him by his Inuit name, Siqiniq, but down here it’s Ame.
Ame’s name comes with a story.
“My father’s name was Aisa, that was it. My name was Siqniq, that was it. Nothing else. Everybody knew me by that one name but the government or the school system didn’t know it so they had to give us a first and last name. They had an operation called operation surname and that’s when they gave us an e-6 number. E-6 is the region of the community and 1107 was my number. I was the 1107 person in that community. My parents gave me the name Ame. Papatsie is from my grandfather. So Ame Papatsie is my given government name.
Ame first went to Alberta where he started teaching. “I used to be a chef and due to health issues I was kind of forced to turn my career somewhere else so art was my hobby and it ended up being my career” he shares. “I permanently moved to Ontario in 2013. I lived in Ottawa for a while and then I lived in Toronto teaching art for different universities. Mostly carving. I was doing culture talks on Inuit. I was teaching lithography. I needed to get away from the city and I had some friends here [in Guelph] and they said it was a nice small town. Friendly and artistic. I have been here for 4 years.
I love teaching kids inspiring art. I love doing origami. I was originally left handed when I was in kindergarten and I learned right and by the time I was a teenager I was painting and drawing with both hands at the same time
A lot of kids call me Ame-dextrous and a lot of kids call me Ame-gami ‘cause of origami. I love art. I did animations, do a lot of murals. A bunch of different artists get together every Saturday from 1-4pm at Art Ect., it’s at the First Baptist Church. People do art, chat, mingle and learn from one another. Half the patrons here go to Art Etc.. too and it makes us a community. ”
Ame is a regular at HOPE House. When asked what keeps him coming to the space he replies, “I love it here. It feels like a family. People are always sharing ideas with one another or helping one another and it feels safe with no judgment, no expectation, and we’re just open to one another. It’s great. it’s like a safe haven for some people that need to get out of their home once in a while and its safe, there’s no obligation, we just talk, have a snack and then help one another. Like for instance we all volunteer, like whoever is capable of lifting something will help and whoever is capable of talking to someone who needs to console will help. Everyone has their own little gift or talent to share with one another. It’s great.”
To access Ame’s art please visit YouTube and search for either Ame Papatsie or Siqiniq Kanayuk. Also seek out Amedextrous on Instagram or Ame Papatsie on Facebook.