Festival Info > Artists

2016 Artist Biographies

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Edith Haogak - Traditional Arts - Sachs Harbour, NT

Edith was born on Victoria Island and now lives in Sachs Harbour, NT. 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!”


Cathie Harper - Basketry - Yellowknife, NT

Cathie Harper is a basket weaver who creates functional baskets and non-traditional woven forms using natural materials like wild willow, bark, cattail, and grasses from the north with commercial reed and wire just a few of the other materials that she weaves with.  When Cathie creates a basket, she may have a general concept of the type and shape, but enjoys the freedom of creation and not really knowing where a piece will end up.  While she took her first basketry class in 1979 in Cochrane, Ontario, it was not until she moved to Yellowknife in 1996 that she started the process to become a true “basketcase” as she has yet to find material that she can’t weave.  Cathie now operates her own studio, Northern Willow Studio in Yellowknife, where she creates and teaches.  Cathie is well known for her basketry, but periodically dabbles in other mediums to keep the creative juices alive.


Whitney Horne - Textiles - Teslin, YT

I am a Tlingit artist who sews traditional regalia, contemporary fashion, and accessories.  My home studio is based in Teslin, Yukon.  I acquire my production materials by purchase and trade in Yukon, B.C., and Alaska.

I learned to sew with beads, leather and fur from my Tlingit grandmother from the age of three with patterns that have been in my family for several generations.  I also weave with porcupine quills and cedar, develop mixed media installations for exhibition, and offer commercial design services.

Innovative new textile artworks are currently under production that establish hybrid forms between traditional and contemporary.  I enjoy working with media such as sculpture, drawing, photography, performance, and graphic design.


Sherlyn Kadjuk - Textiles, Fashion - Arviat, NU

Sherlyn is manager and designer at Kiluk, Ltd in Arviat, which produces fine fur and leather garments and other products with local seamstresses.  She specializes in sealskin, and is known for her jackets, mitts, sealskin wall hangings, ties, bags, agenda covers and many more items. Sherlyn is representing Nunavut Development Corporation at this festival.



Ruben Anton Komangapik - Carving, Metalwork - Caplan, QC

Originally from Pond Inlet, NU, Ruben Anton Komangapik, Inuit jeweller, sculptor, carver, metalworker, performing artist and musician, is fully engaged and enriched by art. He is best known for his unique jewelry and metalwork as well as his expressive sculptures. For creative energy, Ruben draws on his imagination, environment, Inuit traditions and early life experiences. Each piece he makes has a unique birth, taking from 15 minutes to several months to complete. Ruben is a member of the Metal Guild of Canada and currently lives with his family in Gaspésie, Quebec.

Bill Kudlak - Carving - Paulatuk, NT

Born in Inuvik and an artist for 20 years, Bill carves dancing cranes, eagles, and polar bears in natural materials from the land- caribou antlers, whalebone, baleen and stone. He was inspired by his late grandfather Billy Ruben and by his uncle William Ruben.


John Kurok - Ceramics - Rankin Inlet, NU

John works in clay making, as well as drawing.   His masks and vessels often focus on the human face, as a basis for his creative expression.  He was born in Churchill, Manitoba, and started drawing at 8 years old, and started making and working in ceramics in his late teens at the Matchbox Gallery in Rankin Inlet, where his work can also be seen today.  His father was a carver, and he was inspired to become an artist by watching his father carve when he was a child.  He has worked as a full time artist since 1996.  John’s works have been exhibited at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, and Parliament Hill, as well as the Cerny Collection in Bern, Switzerland, and sold in New York. He is also included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, and the Museum of Inuit Art in Toronto.    

Paula Lannon - Knitting - Inuvik, NT

Paula learned to knit at a very young age.  Her brother taught her with two pencil sticks, and after that she has been self-taught.  Paula works with natural fibres, and she loves qiviut.  Fifteen years ago she picked up her knitting in a new way, with each project designed individually by her.  Now, Paula makes only one-of-a-kind articles in her own knitting designs.  



Shelley MacDonald - Jewellery - Whitehorse, YT

Shelley MacDonald earned her B.F.A in Jewellery Design and metalsmithing from NSCAD University in Halifax N.S in 2011. Shelley started her own business in 2005 and has been designing and creating jewellery in the Yukon since 2011.
Shelley interprets natural elements in metal to obscure the connection between botanical forms and the body. This organic style reflects her study of orchids and other flora, which displays tenacity over urban structures.
Shelley challenges herself to represent the relationship of organic elements to the lines and shape of the body, while maintaining the inherent strength in metal. Since moving to the Yukon, Shelley draws and incorporates her inspiration from the northern beauty of her visual environment, which emulates through her more recent collections.
From a small studio in Whitehorse, Shelley uses a variety of materials including up-cycled leather and fur from First Nations in the Yukon, metals, stones, ivory, musk ox horn and wood. All of her items are handmade and one of Kind.


Sarah McHugh - Traditional Sewing - Dawson City, YT

Raised in the Yukon, Sarah grew up with a love for winter, running sled dogs, cutting trapline trail, and living “off-grid.” When gifted her first fur mitts of muskrat, she realized the warmth and comfort of quality fur mittens. Sarah “aka madmitter” is recognized for her highest standards in fur and traditional tanned hides to create amazing fur hats and mitts: for everyday town wear, or for mushers and trappers throughout the season in the harshest environments- safely and comfortably.


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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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