2019 Artists

Northwest Territories

Pauline Gordon - Fort Smith, NT

I am the daughter of Kisaun (Jean) and Gus Tardiff. I attended residential school for many of my years of education.  Hence, I wasn't taught many of the sewing and art skills I may have learned had I stayed with my family to get an education. I was an educator in the north for over 30 years. I worked my way up the system from teacher to school Administrator to regional Superintendent and the final 13 years in Education I spent as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Education and Culture. After retiring from the Government of the Northwest Territories, I began sewing, crafting and making jewellery. I learned and loved making fish scale art pictures, so I taught that to many audiences throughout the past decade. However, I also make jewellery from bison/sheep horn, moose/ caribou antler, sealskin and moose/ deer skin. I've helped to teach diamond willow carving for walking and talking sticks. In March 2019 I took a sealskin workshop in YK. I designed and completed; a sealskin/ leather vest, arctic fox/ leather hat, sheared beaver/ leather portfolio and a tote bag made with two different colored sealskin. We had to make these items in 4 1/2 days. I am self taught for most of the arts and crafts that I make. I am currently learning to use porcupine quills for jewellery and for sewing. I love to try different mediums in the arts and most importantly I love using things from nature like birch bark, fish scales and animal antlers/horns.

Tyra Moses - Yellowknife, NT

Mixed Media Artist Tyra Moses is Liidlii Kue First Nations member who is born and raised in the NT. She is a certified red seal electrician, and the mother to a beautiful daughter. Tyra is also an emerging artist who specializes in photography. She is very passionate about photography and considers herself a visual storyteller. She is currently working on a photography documentary, Indigenous Peoples Portraits Project, which intends to capture the strength, beauty and resilience of Indigenous people across the Northwest Territories. Bringing awareness to Indigenous people’s traditions, culture, artwork, their innate connection, as well as their challenges and opportunities.

Catherine Cockney - Inuvik, NT

Catherine loves to bead! Her mother Winnie Cockney, taught her how to bead and sew at a young age. An enduring image she has is of her mother beading, sitting at the kitchen table under a dim light to relax after work. While learning how to sew, Catherine only sewed for family. The most significant skill her mother Winnie taught her was making caribou-leg mukluks.  Winnie taught her how to apply solutions to soften and scrape the skins, make a pattern, cut out using the pattern and to sew together. During Catherine school years, her skills grew. She would sew with her mother to make items for sale by helping Winnie sew on appliqués on parkas, trim around the bottom and cuffs.  With the left-over fur, Winnie taught Catherine how to make fur cushions that her home economics teacher would sell. Catherine enjoys making brooches/pins, experimenting with different colors.  She’s currently learning how to do embroidery enjoys making kaukkak (embroidered mukluks) and improving her skills on making parka covers and quilts.

Robert Buckle - Aklavik, NT

Robert makes handcrafted jeweler from a variety of metals, stones, and natural materials. He enjoys working with natural materials found in and around the Mackenzie Delta. Originally from Aklavik, Robert seeks out natural materials like ivory, mammoth, and baleen. Robert has been attending the festival for many years. Robert has exhibited works at the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, Ontario, Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia and at the Houston North Gallery in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Robert loves being out on the land where he finds plenty of ideas for his work in the appreciation of landscape, colours, natural shapes, and wildlife.

Sheena Yakeleya - Yellowknife, NT

Jewelry Artist Sheena Yakeleya is a proud Dene woman who grew up in Yellowknife. She is originally from the Sahtu region (Tulita, Fort Good Hope). She was taught to bead by her grandmother when she was a teenager, but didn’t embrace it at the time. She took up the craft again later in life after her children got older. It started out by her wanting a pair of beaded earrings. Next thing, other people wanted a pair, too. She has been actively doing it now for the past five years. Sheena uses materials such as delica beads, birth bark, porcupine quills, gems, shells, Strout, hide, and leather. She mainly makes earrings. But, also makes bracelets, rings, brooches

Edith Haogak - Sachs Harbour, NT

Edith was born on Victoria Island and resides in Sachs Harbour, NT. Edith is a master seamstress, and traditional artist and her work is recognized by her distinct style and craftsmanship. She began sewing as a young girl learning to make clothing for her family. Edith is an accomplished traditional seamstress and makes caribou mukluks, parkas and muffs. She enjoys making nice clothing and crafts and is inspired by “Animals, Life and Happy people!”.

Jean Harry - Sachs Harbour, NT

Jean is the daughter of Edith Haogak and learned from the best. Jean now creates her own traditional clothing, and crafts carrying on the legacy of her family. She enjoys embroidery and working with natural materials to create her beautiful work.

Karin Lange - Inuvik, NT

Karin Lange is a Painter - Elder and an Inuvik transplant who is here to thrive and bloom in the midst of her family and grandchildren. She volunteers in the gardens at Aurora Research Institute, transplanting exquisite native plants for view in a public teaching garden. She sees that God is in the details. Karin passionately passes on the glorious beauty she observes daily into her paintings for view at the 2018 Great Northern Arts Festival

Antoine Mountain - Fort Good Hope, NT

Antoine uses a colourful palette to create his impressionist style of painting. His work portrays the traditional Dene way of life and panoramic northern landscapes as well as stories and legends. Antoine hopes his work will ensure that Dene youth know their culture and history. ʺI try to capture the delicate variations of colour in the majestic sweep of the land, and to use lyrical line in my art. All native art is essentially spiritual. Our beliefs and values are firmly rooted here in this land."

Julia Pokiak-Trennert - Hay River, NT

While attending the Immaculate Conception Indian School in Aklavik, Julia learned the basics of moose hair tufting from Sister Beatrice Leduc.  After getting married, Julia left the Delta region and moved to Fort Simpson, NT.  She saw beautiful tufting by a renowned seamstress, Grandma Lafferty. She received her first bag of moose hair from Emily George and began to practice tufting.  Julia then moved to Fort Providence, and was introduced to the women’s crafts, and when the demand for tufting exceeded the products, she began creating her own works.  Gramma Lafferty and Mrs. Bella Bonnetrouge’s works of art inspired Julia to be creative and find her unique style.  Julia first showcased her work in the 1980’s and has traveled to many festivals and events ever since. In recent years, she has concentrated on creating miniature tufting. Her creations a have been well received and hang in homes all over the world. To keep her creativity flowing, she has branched into bead work and embroidery.  Julia’s inspiration comes from traditional clothing and admiration of other artists. “I love experimenting with different styles and I never start a project until I have a mental image of it. I love the challenge of bringing my mental image to reality.”

Maidie-Anne Turner - Inuvik, NT

Maidie-Anne creates stained glass art, paintings and carvings. From her beautiful home in Inuvik, Maidie-Anne forms her art from within all three mediums. Her private studio allows her the creativity to explore new mediums. She has been an artist at the Great Northern Arts festival for many years. Maidie-Anne enjoys meeting and learning from artists attending the festival. These exposures have inspired her to express her love for the North and Mackenzie Delta.

Michel Labine - Fort Smith, NT

Michel, of Metis heritage is originally from Northern Ontario, has made the Northwest Territories his home since 1980 and now lives in Fort Smith of the Slave River. Michel began dabbing in art at the young age of 6, spending his spare time drawing, carving and creating. It has become his outlet. "I enjoy working with all available materials, but lately I spend countless hours designing custom northern glass creations." Michel is considered a self-taught artist having more than 24 years of experience in creating glass art and more than 30 years of experience in creating culturally correct drums.                                                

Colette Labine - Fort Smith, NT

Colette was from Saskatchewan but has made Northwest Territories her home since 1991 and now lives in Fort Smith on the shores of the slave River. Colette began with textiles sitting with her grandmother. Colette is considered a self-taught artist having more than 44 years of experience in creating multi-media art. Her commissioned works and other creations are regularly purchased and displayed in many homes and offices throughout Canada. 

Martin Goodliffe - Yellowknife, NT                      

A Northern Canadian jeweler and artist. He makes his home in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. He has for many years worked at a variety of jobs across the high arctic, in communities such as: Sachs Harbour, Cambridge Bay, and Inuvik. All the while pursuing his interests as a Northern artist, teaching arctic jewelry making, and spokes person for the Arctic Experience. For nearly a decade, Marin has pursued a variety of arts programming, studies, teaching assignments, and participated in exhibitions. He is a member of a number of major Northern arts associations, the Aurora Society, the Artists of the South Slave, and the Yellowknife Artists Guild. He has participated on a regular basis at the Open Sky Festival, National Aboriginal Day Celebrations, and repeatedly at the Great Northern Arts Festival. His presence at the Great Northern Arts Festival has been significant, having repeatedly taken The People's Choice Award for Best Artist, and the Artist's Choice Award for Best of Show. His work, his dedication to his craft, and his gracious outgoing manner have won the respect of his peers and the appreciation of the public. Nearly a decade ago Martin decided to commit his energies fully to jewelry making in the Canadian arctic. He took it upon himself to enroll in the Arctic College's "Jewelry and Metal working" program, graduating with honors, his work speaks fully to the arctic experience, employing a broad range of Northern motifs for his jewelry designs, and incorporating a wealth of indigenous Northern materials such as Yellowknife gold, Yukon mammoth ivory, walrus ivory, fossilized materials from the Arctic Ocean, musk-ox horn, caribou antler, and buffalo horn. All of this is not surprising, as Martin is directly descended from one of Canada's greatest artists of the last century, the painter Emily Carr, who was Martin's father's great aunt. He regularly is asked to demonstrate his craft at special events. 

John Sabourin - Fort Simpson, NT

Painter/Carver and acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist originally from Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. He began painting acrylics in 1989 and in 10 short years, graduated from the Fine Arts course at Arctic College and the Victoria College of Art in British Columbia. Around 1994, John started carving with soapstone. For the first several years, he worked exclusively with hand tools, cultivating his technique and feel for the stone. Although he now uses power tools, he still finishes each piece off by hand. John’s art is heavily influenced by the rich imagery of the Northwest Territories – it’s legends, stories and animals. His carvings have a free flowing and meandering line that represent his connection to the Aurora and the spirit of the North.  John has enjoyed a successful career and has been involved with many collaborative projects in both Canada and overseas. Working from Frozen Rock Studios in Yellowknife, John is represented by The Inuit Galley of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC), The Guild Shop (Toronto, ON), Bear Claw Gallery (Edmonton, AB) and Arctic Artistry Gallery (New York City, NY).

Cathie Harper - Yellowknife, NT

My focus started using wild northern willow to create functional baskets and non-traditional woven forms. The wild willow experience has been expanded through the use of reed, bead, various barks, cattail and other natural embellishments to the willow, the use of white and cultivated willow with wild willow and using different varieties and weaves to accentuate the northern varieties of willow. My own personality makes it very difficult to follow a predefined pattern in anything that I create. When I start a basket, I may have a general concept of the type and shape of basket and ideas as to the materials and weaves that I plan to use. But once started, who knows what the final creation will actually look like.  Forcing wild materials into precise shapes is not what I want but I choose to let the material tell me how it wants to go. Through experience, I have discovered that anything can be used to weave. One-of-a-kind reed baskets are created using my own dyed reed. In the fall of 2001, I rediscovered the fun of using cattail, rush, barks and other natural materials to plait and twine. In 2002, I started coiling using a variety of wires and fibres. I have also experimented with alternative bases of driftwood and antler. In collaboration with ceramic artist Astrid Kruse in 2004 – 2005, I explored working with clay as part of the woven process. The first basketry course I took was in 1979 in Cochrane, Ontario using reed, wooden bases, sea grass and thread. It wasn’t until I moved North in 1996 that I was exposed to creative people again and started with basketry. I’ve traveled extensively to take workshops with internationally recognized basketry instructors throughout western Canada and the US to enhance my predominantly self-taught skills. Basketry is not enough.  I am well known for my basketry, but I am always willing to try anything once, just as long as it will not become another obsession.  I’ve been known to do a bit of hand-built pottery.  I design my own workshops and find that teaching is part of my creative development as I make a demo basket as part of each class and I have always learned something in each class from student questions.

Francis Ruben - Paulatuk, NT

Francis was born in Paulatuk and learned to carve from his parents and brother Abe Angik Ruben. He has been carving for almost twenty years and his sculpture is inspired by wildlife, legends told through stories, and traditions. His work has been exhibited in the Western Arctic and at previous festivals

Ronald William English - Inuvik, NT

Contemporary Arts Born on October 23rd, 1962 in the middle of the Beaufort Delta. At the time of his birth, Inuvik was a small town, newly formed as the centre piece for government and culture for both Inuvialuit and Gwich’in peoples. Ron spent time living in Tuktoyaktuk, and playing in the Richardson Mountains. Many wonderful memories and inspiration were created netting char and hunting beluga and admiring all wildlife in the Beaufort Sea and on the Delta land. As a teen, Ron spent time living in Whitehorse, exploring the trails of the gold miners who walked the same paths in the early 1890’s all the way to Dawson City. Many summers were spent with his grandmother on his father’s side. Her keen sense of Ron’s creative nature allowed her to structure Ron’s early years as a boy artist. This young boy was kept busy drawing many different items that his loving grandmother would place before him. By the time Ron was in school, his art instructors were constantly challenged with trying to quench the thirst of Ron’s creativity. While attending Red Deer College in 1995, Ron took up the process of sculpture, and Bronze Bear was born. Inspired by American controversy over polar bear hunts in the Arctic, Bronze Bear became an appropriate Gwich’in piece after an actual polar bear was sighted and harvested out of the Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson area, typical Gwich’in harvesting land. Ron’s recent project, Bronze Eagle, has been inspired by the image of his daughter’s features on the back of the sculpture. Taking four years to complete, the series will be comprised of 25 pieces and 7 artist’s proofs. Along with Bronze Bear, the Bronze Eagle is a modern series with traditional images from the Delta forever cast in bronze. Ron’s carvings and flat work can be found as far away as Japan and he is receiving much interest from collectors of aboriginal art in New York City. Ron English currently resides in Inuvik, where he hopes one day to open an artist’s foundry. Currently on education leave, pursuing his goals.

Derrald Taylor - Yellowknife, NT

Derrald is a stone carver originally from Tuktoyaktuk, NT, but now he lives in Yellowknife.  Derrald is a part of a large family of stone carvers and his father Bobby Pokiak inspired him to pick up stone carving from and early age.  Derrald now works from a studio in Yellowknife he shares with other stone carvers from across the north.  Derrald has been a part of the GNAF for a number of years, continuing his father’s legacy of soapstone carving in the Mackenzie Delta.

Verna Taylor - Inuvik, NT

Verna was born and raised in Tuktoyaktuk.  Verna learned to carve from other family members and friends.  She has been carving for well over 20 years, and her work has been shown at previous festivals.  Inuvialuit tradition and culture is a source of inspiration for here carving and her favorite part of the process is observing and finishing of a piece.

Marion Pokiak-Taylor - Inuvik, NT

A younger carver from the talented Taylor family legacy.  Marion likes to make small, innovative carvings utilizing the skills learned through her family’s mentorship.  She has been involved in the Great Northern Arts Festival every year from an early age.

Ronald Nuyaviak - Yellowknife, NT

Ronald was born and raised in Tuktoyaktuk, and now lives in Yellowknife.  He has been carving soapstone and antler since the mid 1980’s and makes his living as an artist.  He is inspired from the time he has spent on the land, hunting and the stories he was told by his elders when he was a child.  His work has been exhibited in Yellowknife, NT and Edmonton, AB.  Personally, Ronald would like people to learn and feel good about themselves and one day he would like to teach children. 

Ryan Taylor - Tuktoyaktuk, NT

Born and raised in Tuktoyaktuk, Ryan learned to carve from his grandfather Bobby Taylor-Pokiak and more recently from uncles Derrald and Ron Taylor and aunts Mary Anne and Verna who helped him with carving details.  Working mostly in soapstone, Ryan carves primarily hunting scenes and the animals that he encounters on the land.  He takes pride in his carvings, he says his carving skills will last forever, and his carvings will be alive forever. 


Leslie Leong - Whitehorse, YT

Mixed Media Artist A multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Whitehorse, Yukon. After 25 years in the North, her work is heavily influenced by northern culture, society and environment, and the relationships between them. Her art practice became a full-time career in 1994 through photography. She produced two best-selling photographic books: Canada’s Northwest Territories, a land of diversity; and Our Forgotten North, a glimpse of the Sub-arctic in Canada's north. Today, Leslie focuses on an issue or idea and uses any medium she feels appropriate to express her response to the issue at hand. Lately, mixed media, photography, blacksmith work, printmaking and ceramics have been common in her work. She often uses unorthodox materials, forcing her to adopt non-traditional techniques. This results in an open-ended process, sending her on a journey of inquiry and exploration. She has exhibited internationally with over 20 solo exhibitions and numerous group shows, and has taught in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. Her work can be found in public and private collections across Canada, in the USA, Germany, UK and Australia.

Whitney Horne - Teslin, YT

A Dakh ka Tlingit bead artist and fashion designer. Her home-studio is located in Teslin, Yukon where she sews and beads original works inspired by her family style of sewing and modern fashion trends. Whitney is a member of the Dakhlaweidi Clan and citizen of the Teslin Tlingit Council, with Alaska native ancestry. 

Karen Nicloux - Whitehorse, YT

Karen Nicloux is proficient in the art of embroidery, traditional sewing and beadwork. She was born in Mayo, Yukon. Her parents are Martha Buyck and George Nicloux. Karen belongs to Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation. She is Northern Tutchone and a member of the Wolf Clan, she is also part Cree on her father’s side. Growing up in Mayo, Karen learned to hunt, fish and trap from her father and learned to cook and sew from her mother. Karen said she never had much patience beading, but she was proficient in the art of embroidery, and sewing together mukluks, slippers, and mitts. Prior to her mother’s passing, Karen had been practicing sewing with her mother and will continue her mother’s legacy.

Darcy Tara McDiarmid - Whitehorse, YT

Painter A Han and Northern Tutchone nature artist from the crow clan of northern Yukon. Darcy is guided by nature, dreams and long-ago stories.   Heritage, culture and conservation of the environment and wildlife are important areas of artistic focus for Darcy and are reflected in the scope of her paintings, carvings and bead work. Darcy paints in a very colourful, bold, and expressive style, attempting to capture the profound and ethereal beauty of the spirit of nature. 


Dan Wade - Iqaluit, NU  

 A talented jeweler born in Iqaluit, NU. Wade was inspired by the carvers in his family to pursue the arts and take up jewelry. Working from Aayuraa Studio in Iqaluit with two other jewelers from 2010 to 2018, Wade is a full-time jeweler and sells his jewelry online, at festivals and directly from his studio. He is most famous for his Northern Lights ring. Wade has won the Nunavut Arts Branding Award from The Song Tree, for Arts and Promotion, in 2012. A member of the Nunavut Arts and Craft Association he is a registered member of the Authentic Nunavut Brand. Wade is currently based and working out of Whitby, ON.


Brigitte Genois - St. Raymond, QC

Brigitte is originally from Quebec City, where she earned a diploma in Textiles in 2001 from Maison des Métiers d’Art de Quebec.  Since has taught weaving, teaching and exploring her passion for Textile art.  Her work demonstrates her openness and interest to explore new art forms.  This broad perspective on the arts allows Brigitte to mix different art forms together to create new styles, and unique works of art.  “Art is my oxygen, it allows me to flourish, it really challenges me to think.  Art brings me emotional and psychological balance; it’s my meditation, my therapy!”.

There is nothing more rewarding than to share our talents with our future generations.

Carmen Miller - Hinton, AB

Carmen Miller is a Metis artist who lives in Hinton, Alberta. She has always loved trying new forms of art and craft work. Carmen started making simple beaded items at the age of eight and has been beading ever since. She learned the art of moose and caribou hair tufting 23 years ago, and it quickly became one of her favorite art mediums. She usually puts her tufting on wearable items such as moccasins, mittens, brooches, and hair pieces.  Carmen has a deep respect for the culture and traditions of all native people. Keeping the culture alive through her artwork and teaching is a goal of hers. Other traditional crafts she has tried are fish scale art, horsehair embroidery, and making birch bark baskets. This year Carmen is proud to be acknowledged and supported by the Canada Council for the Arts to make and promote Indigenous art.

Alice Hunter - Edmonton, AB

Mrs. Alice Hunter is an Inuvialuk born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories and is a distinguished elder representing the Inuvialuit culture in many facets including her sewing for traditional wear of atiluks (summer covers), drum dancing parka’s, kammiks (mukluks), slippers, mitts and mitt strings and much more.  Alice has as well had experience in weaving work at the Pangnirtung Weaving Shop making tapestries, table covers and belts.  Further to the sewing Alice has led a traditional life on the land in many ways growing up in the Mackenzie Delta, Yukon Coast, spending some years in the Easter Arctic of Canada and later settling in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.  Alice currently lives in Edmonton, AB with her daughter and has many connections throughout Canada. Alice is fluent in Inuvialuktun and is named ‘Atluk’.  Knowing that language is important to cultural identity and she always kept this to heart.  This was also important to her while graduating from Aurora College in the Aboriginal Language Instructor Program.  In language she also contributed to providing translation the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers in the songs and dances.  Alice has produced “Alice Hunter’s North Country Cookbook” in 1986, show casing it at the Vancouver Olympics Expedition.  Growing up on traditional food and learning new ways to cook from travelling across the Northern Arctic she produced a fulsome Northern collection of recipes.  Feeding six children and making delicacies was hard work but worth every bite. Much of Alice’s tributes come from the real care she took in sewing, cooking, language and being a strong Inuvialuk for her family and friends.

Sharon Quirke - West Vancouver, BC

Sharon was born in Vancouver, grew up on the Canadian north coast in Prince Rupert, and on the American east coast in New York City. After completing a BA at UBC and a Teacher’s Certificate at SFU, she taught in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. She then studied in Montreal with artists Irene Whittome, Guido Molinari and Charles Gagnon. She completed an MA in Art Education while teaching at Concordia University. In the early 80’s she returned to Vancouver’s lower mainland and began her painting career. West Vancouver has been her home since 1984. She and her husband have raised three sons on the North Shore, and the natural and cultural backdrop of the mountains and community have served as inspiration for her painting and teaching. In all her work, Sharon finds a timeless moment to capture. Seascapes, landscapes, florals or cityscapes, all present images, colors, and emotions layered on canvases that move with fluidity, fresh air and the unexpected sensations of light.




Apply as an Artist or Performer

If you are a visual artist or craftsperson living and creating in the North (Yukon, NWT, or Nunavut) and are interested in taking part in the 2019 Great Northern Arts Festival: Application forms will be available January 1st, 2019. Deadline to submit is March 31, 2019 - Please call the Executive Director for more information at 867-777-8638 (work) or 867-678-0511 (cell).

You must complete the application and include a short biography of yourself. Please mail to the Great Northern Arts Festival Office (P.O. Box 2921, Inuvik, NT, X0E 0T0). For other options please call the Executive Director.

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

2019 festival dates are
July 12th-July 21st, 2019.

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.