Festival Info > Artists

2016 Artist Biographies

Enter Search Value:
- without any prefix or suffix to find all records where a column contains the value you enter, e.g. Net
- with | prefix to find all records where a column starts with the value you enter, e.g. |Network
- with | suffix to find all records where a column ends with the value you enter, e.g. Network|
- with | prefix and suffix to find all records containing the value you enter exactly, e.g. |Network|

Hayden McHugh - Carving - Dawson City, , YT

Hayden McHugh is a Northern Tatchone/ Shuswap carver from the Crow Clan of the White River First Nation.  He is a self- taught wildlife carver who enjoys working with moose/caribou antler, soapstone, ivory, and cottonwood.

Roberta Memogana - Printmaking - Inuvik, NT

Sister of well-known Holman (now Ulukhaktok) printmaker Mary Okheena, Roberta works in stencil, stonecut, and sculpture.  She began working creatively in 1992, and says her artwork, “makes me feel good about myself.”  Her ideas come from stories and memories of her culture and the old ways. 



Antoine Mountain - Painting - 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. "I 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."



Eli Nasogaluak - Carver - Yellowknife, NT

Eli was born in Tuktoyaktuk, NT , and began carving at an early age; he is now considered one of the most highly regarded artists in the north. Using his art to express who he is and how he perceives life, Eli challenges the viewer to feel and experience his Inuvialuit identity. He and brothers Bill and Joe took first prize at Canada's Snow Sculpture Competition for their spectacular carving called After Ragnarok. Eli's primary activity is stone sculpture , as well as painting and drawing .



Louie Nigiyok - Print Making - Ulukhaktok, NT

Louie Nigiyok began working as a printmaker for the print shop in 1981, at the same time as his mother, Mabel Nigiyok. He continues today as one of the foremost interpreters of drawings by other artists. In the early 1980s, he learned the stonecut technique from Harry Egotak and John Rose, and later began working with stencils when these became the preferred print form. Elsie Klengenberg, Mary K. Okheena and Mabel Nigiyok were making stencils in the early 1980s, and they needed help producing the editions of 50 prints. Nigiyok helped ink the prints, and after learning to cut the mylar stencils, undertook the entire process himself. Since 1981, Nigiyok has translated 96 drawings into prints for the annual collections.

Karen Novak - Painting - Yellowknife, NT

An artist in every sense of the word, this singer, writer and professional performer also has a little magic on canvas with her favorite paints and pens. Having been commissioned by the chamber of commerce in her former hometown of Mission BC, she captures the local landmark buildings in detailed pen and ink. She especially enjoys character buildings and landscapes. 

Recently adding colors and paint, she is capturing northern skies and scenes. " I really enjoy creating" says Novak, " whether it's musical or a painting, it's very satisfying to finish a work and have others enjoy it as well".

You might know her as a member of Welders Daughter which plays nearly every night as the house band at the Trapper.


Ame Papatsie - Visual Arts - Toronto, ON

Ame Papatsie from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, is a passionate Inuit artist, story teller, tour guide, designer and illustrator of childrens' books. Ame is famous for his technique of drawing simultaneously with both hands in perfect symmetry. Ame is a graduate of McGill University and Dalhousie. He designed many drawings and paintings, numerous logos, murals, tattoos, and computer graphics using images from his cultural heritage. He has also created sealskin masks and chessboards.

Ame has been an invited artist at the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association’s annual arts festival since 2003, and was twice invited to participate in the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, where he received two awards, Most Valuable Participant and Spiritual Artist Award. He is an active member of the arts community in Nunavut as the Chairman of the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association and a board member for the Inuit Artists Association. In 2014, Ame participated in the Art Battle in Ottawa and, recently in the Panamania Art Battle, Toronto.
He was one the six international  winners and happen to be the only indigenous from the winners.


Mary Ann Penashue - Painting - North West River, NL

Mary Anne Penashue was born Birch Island near Goose Bay, NL and raised in an Innu hunting grounds near Mud Lake by her grandparents who taught her Innu culture and to work hard for things she believes in.  Presently, Mary Ann calls Sheshatshiu, Newfoundland and Labrador her home and she has four children as well as six grandchildren.  Mary Ann has painted since 1995.  She started with oils, she choose to paint images of her grandparents; especially their faces because she found it particularly difficult and it pushed her to improve her skills as an artist.  She soon found herself painting more elders from her own community and from other Innu communities.  She later switched to work with acrylics.

In 2007, the NFLD Arts Council recognized Mary Ann as “Emerging Visual Artist of the Year.”  She exhibited her work in Labrador, Quebec, and at the International Circum-Arctic Art Show in Reykjavik, Iceland in October of 2015.  Currently, Ms. Penashue is completing her third and final year of the Fine Arts Diploma program at the Ottawa School of Art where she has been awarded the Lillian Raport Memorial Scholarship, 2015, in recognition of artistic achievement and expression of life through the visual arts.  Her work also includes printmaking and photography.  

“I paint people doing traditional work from the past because it brings ‘My Culture’ to life.  I’m looking forward to returning to Sheshatshiu, to focusing on my art and exploring the new skills and inspirations I’ve captured here at the Ottawa School of Art”

“Bringing my First Nations culture to life is a very important aspect in my work.  Inspired by the past, I work with black and white archive photographs as well as my own photos, drawings, and prints, introducing deep and saturated colours on the canvas.  Although the imagery focuses on people involved with traditional work and events, the colours and background imagery are usually not predetermined and develop as work progresses.  Currently, I am also exploring and pushing my skills in the direction of abstract painting.”


Verna Pokiak-Taylor - Carving - Inuvik, NT

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 her carving, and her favorite part of the process is observing the finishing of a piece. 


Frances Nauyak Ruben - Carving - Paulatuk, NT

Francis Nauyak lives in Paulatuk, NT and he has been carving since 1970.  He worked with his brothers Abraham, David, and Stanley.  He usually carves whalebone and muskox horn, but can express himself with soapstone.


Page 3  of  6 First   Previous   1  2  [3]  4  5  6  Next   Last  
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.

CMS Website by WebmontonMedia.com