Zinour Fathoullin

Born in Siberia in 1951, Zinour found his first love – dance – at the age of seven. Since then he has pursued and maintained his love of dance, becoming a professional dancer, choreographer and artistic director in ballet, folk and aboriginal dance. 

It was after serving his mandatory two years of service in the (then) Soviet Army that a friend noticed that he had a “good hand” when it came to doing illustrations and graphics. After some convincing, Zinour decided to attend the Ural College of Fine Art. While there, he studied graphic art, sculpture, design and painting. It was not long before he discovered an inherent talent for portrait art, which he has maintained to this day. 

Upon graduation, Zinour was hired by the Soviet government as an artist, a career he had until he moved to Canada in 1990. His large installations in the former USSR include graphics, portraits and relief wall murals depicting Soviet life. 

In the summer of 1990, Zinour’s dance troupe performed for a Soviet-organized environmental expedition in Siberia. On board ship was a Canadian biologist, Gayle Reddick. Despite not speaking each other’s language, Zinour and Gayle fell in love. At the end of the year, he came to Canada and they were married. 

In Canada, Zinour has balanced his two passions..art and dance. After living in “the south” (Ontario) for five years with Gayle and their two sons, he longed for the Arctic again. So, they picked up and moved to Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Zinour quickly became engrossed in the Arctic culture again and began painting images of Inuit life. While living in Rankin Inlet and Cape Dorset, Zinour and his family spent a lot of time in town and on the land with the elders. These experiences were fodder for his series entitled “Elders of Nunavut”, many of which were purchased by the government of Nunavut and now grace the halls of government buildings and the Premier’s Office. 

In 1998, Zinour was commissioned to choreograph two pieces for the Opening Ceremonies of Nunavut Day. This meant a move to the soon to be capital, Iqaluit. 

Broadcast internationally, the performances were so well received by the people of Nunavut that Zinour continued this momentum and built an Inuit youth dance and drumming troupe entitled “Sikumiut” (People of the Ice). From 1999 – 2001, the group reached international acclaim with tours to Belgium, France, the Ukraine, Russia, Alaska, Greenland, New York State, southern Ontario and the Calgary Stampede. Sikumiut represented Canada in the globally broadcast Millennium Special on the eve of the Year 2000. They also performed with Paul Brandt for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Arctic Winter Games. 

Zinour and his family relocated to Calgary in 2001. He continues to divide his time between painting and dance. 

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