Festival Info > Artists

2016 Artist Biographies

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Charissa Alain-Lilly - Craftwork and Jewellery - Yellowknife, NT

To create from my heart with love, is real creation and real joy”. Charissa has been creating all of her life, as a craftsperson as well as an artist and writer. As an artisan, the joy of creating both beautiful and practical items is evident in her creations on which she spends many hours engaged in the design process. She retains simplicity in her work with the use of natural materials, such as feathers, antlers, bone, horn, shell, smoke-tanned hide, fur, porcupine quills and silverberry seeds. To this, she often likes to add a touch of elegance by combining modern materials such as Swarovski crystals, brocade ribbon, silk, velvet fabric paint or beads, to create a distinctive style all her own. Her work features many one-of-a-kind pieces and includes jewelry, hair ornaments, purses, pouches, belts, mittens, hats, footwear, blankets, clothing and other accessories.

Jolly Atagoyuk - Printmaking - Pangnirtung, NU

Jolly’s work in stencil, lino prints, and etching is cherished by collectors around the globe.  He has also become known for his woodcuts, silkscreens, watercolours, sculptures, jewelry, and filmwork.


Caroline Blechert - Jewellery - Vancouver, BC

Born and raised in Yellowknife, Caroline has been making jewellery since the age of 12. A full-time student, she spends her extra time designing intricate jewellery pieces with beads, porcupine quills and other materials. She was inspired as a child, watching her Nanuk make beautiful beadwork designs on mukluks and moccasins, but is also influenced by other traditional and modern jewelleries and by nature. "My art explores and blends my own culture with my current diverse urban surroundings. Respecting tradition and keeping it alive through art drives my creative process. I am also intrigued and inspired by the evolution within the art of aboriginal communities when exposed to new materials and techniques. For example, the northern Athabaskan exposure to European beads which resulted in a whole new form of art – beadwork. In a similar way I also aim to combine my tradition – my roots, with my personal ways of expression – my wings. My roots are my access to the part or my identity that is strongly connected to my family history. With my wings I depart with my tradition and soar into uncharted territory truly my own." , she says.


Jennifer Buckley - Fish Scale Art - Hay River, NT

Jennifer Buckley was born and raised in the fishing village community of Hay River, which is known as West Channel.  Her family history has gone back generations in the fishing industry.  “My whole life and family today is still surrounded in the fishing community and this closeness with 'fish' has brought me to my new found love of 'Fish Art'.”  Nothing from a fish gets wasted as all the remnants of a fish once it has been filleted become the materials for her one of a kind art pieces.  The centre of the flower is the spine (vertebrae), the stems are the bones, and the petals are the scales!

Catherine Cockney - Beadwork, Sewing - Inuvik, NT

Born in Tununek, NT, Catherine’s main interest and skill is beadwork.  Taught by her mother Winnie Cockney, she beads brooches, uppers for slippers/mocassins, and fronts for mukluks.  She sews fur and leather mittens and parka covers.  She gained a degree in Anthropology which allowed her to research traditional clothing and her Inuvialuit culture.



Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley - Carving - Toronto, ON

Growing up in Cape Dorset, NU, Kuzy was surrounded by carvings and carvers.  He has a lot to show where he comes from and he does it really well with his stunning carvings.  Being a third generation carver, he is the new millennium carver of this family.  With great talent and a good background of carvers, Kuzy is proudly representing the families of Ashoona and Curleys.

Jerry Ell - Carving - Iqaluit, NU

Jerry is currently living in Iqaluit, he was born on January 25th, 1961 and raised by his late father Ben Ell and his mother Marie who still resides in Iqaluit.  He was educated in Iqaluit and as a young teenager was influenced by several artists over the years, primarily by Henry Evaluadjuk, Tommy Takpanie Sr., Nook Newkinga, Seepee, and Noviya Ippelie.  During the summer months working with these artists and his father quarrying for soapstone, Jerry was exposed to several different artistic styles and enjoyed the privilege of having advice from a wide variety of artists through the sale of soapstone at home in Iqaluit.  The main influence from all these artists was the quality of work being produced, theme, balance, and finish.  These values are translated into the work that Jerry produces in several different media such as glass, bone, soapstone, and granite.  With his life experience of hunting and living off the land, plus education and experience as an executive officer, Jerry combines the traditional and modern concepts of Inuit culture into his work.  Jerry first started carving at the age of 12 and has continued over the years with some years more than others.  He has carved full time from 1990- 93 and more recently, from 2003 to today.


Kevin Floyd - Qayaq, Pautik making - Inuvik, NT

Kevin is an Inuvialuit qayaq and pautik maker.  Like his ancestors, he has made his living qayaqing.  His love for the marine playground combined with the exploration of his Inuvialuit heritage and a deep appreciation for traditional qayaqing has compelled him to be a leading force in the resurrection of the Inuvialuit qayaq tradition.


April Glaicar - Jewellery - Hay River, NT

April Glaicar is an emerging mixed media artist who was born and raised in Hay River, NWT. 


Always creative and attuned to nature as a child (often collecting a pocket full of rocks or flowers) she had begun exploring photography and design by the time she was in high school.


It is her passion for photography combined with a love of nature and creative curiosity that have resulted in April’s “Inspired Surroundings” photography and jewellery collection; an eclectic mix of her original photographs, metal work and fused glass techniques (originating over 4000 years ago) as well as recycled and found materials such as whitefish vertebrae.


Largely a self-taught artist, April experiments with different materials and techniques and eagerly participates in opportunities to learn from other artists in any discipline.





O.D. Hansen - Carving - Aklavik,, NT

O.D. Hansen (Simutuk) was born in Aklavik to Hans and Kathleen Hansen. O.D. graduated from high school in Inuvik, staying at Stringer Hall. O.D. started drawing and carving wood at a young age, and took up stone carving at a later age. O.D.and his family moved to Alberta in 1992 to work for Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation, and eventually graduated from SAIT with an Applied Degree in Petroleum Engineering Technology. It was then that O.D. began carving on a regular basis, which helped support his family while attending college. Working primarily with stone, along with antler, horn and whalebone, O.D. has works throughout Canada, and internationally.



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Artist Information

Apply as an Artist or Entertainer

If you are a visual artist or craftsperson living and creating art in the North (Yukon, NWT, or Nunavut) and are interested in taking part in the 2016 Great Northern Arts Festival please print and complete the following forms.

Your completed application and biography forms can be faxed (867-777-2017) to the Great Northern Arts Festival Office or sent by mail (P.O. Box 2921, Inuvik, NT, X0E 0T0).

We strongly encourage you to include slides or photographs of your work, as we need to see what you do. If you have digital photographs, you can e-mail them to us at (please remember to include who you are in the e-mail message).  

Our selection process will take place in March/April 2016.  

Next year's festival dates are
July 14th-July 23th, 2017.

Non-Northern Artists:

Please remember that it is our mandate to serve the community of Northern artists and craftspeople. Each year, though, we do try to bring several non-Northern artists to share their work and ideas. If you feel you have something particularly special to share, please contact us directly. Our budgets are limited, and we ask you to remember that most of our resources are dedicated to our mandated goals.

For non-northern artists, we will ask you for an application with the following additional information:

  • How you feel you can contribute to the festival.
  • How you feel the festival will benefit you.
  • To what degree will you require assistance with travel and accommodations.

Please keep in mind that we generally bring no more than five artists from outside the north - and those artists selected must fall within the boundaries of our theme for the season.


Interested in our line-up of artists at the Great Northern Arts Festival? Find our more about them here.

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