Festival Info > Artists

2016 Artist Biographies

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Don Antoine - Carving Jewelry - Yellowknife, NT

Don is a local Dene carver and artist who specializes in using indigenous materials such as moose and caribou bone and antler.  He was born and raised in the North, originating from Fort Simpson, and is currently making his home in Yellowknife.  He is self-taught, and uses a variety of different drilling, colouring, and smoothing techniques to create pieces that are striking and unique.



Robert Buckle - Jewellery - Aklavik , NT

Robert makes handcrafted jewellery 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 the landscape, colours, natural shapes and wildlife.

Crystal Dillon Gunninan - Painting, Sculpture, Fine Arts - Inuvik, NT

Crystal Dillon is the business owner of Northern Spirit and Nature Designs incorporated. She is a professional oil painter with 15 years of experience in the field. Her work centres on a realist style and exhibits a pride in her first nation’s background, she signs her artwork by her native name Gunninan. She is a current student in her second year at Red Deer College in the visual arts program majoring in sculpture. Her most recent exhibition was at the Peace Hills Trust exhibition 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta. She has worked as a framer in Artworks Gallery in 2001 in Fort McMurray, Ab. Dillon’s future plans are to continue her education and obtain her master’s degree majoring in stone and bronze sculpture.



Brigitte Genois - Textiles - St-Raymond , Québec

I am born in 1978 in Quebec City.  I earned my textile diploma back in 2001 from Maison des Metiers d’art de Quebec.  Since then I became a weaving teacher and have been working on finding my way in textile art.  Being open and interested to different art forms had given me a broad perspective on the arts allowing me 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 psycological balance, it’s my meditation, my therapy!



Martin Goodliffe - Jewellery - Yellowknife, NT

Martin is a master storyteller – stories from his past, stories in his art and stories from his friends. In these stories his jewellery pieces are his best characters. Born in England, Martin has lived throughout the North, finding inspiration by all that he found around him. His art today is an expression of where he has been and what he has seen. Martin started with larger sculptures (which he continues to create by commission) but truly found his niche with jewellery. Each piece clearly shows that Martin thinks outside the box – unique in style, material and expression. Martin is a member of the Yellowknife Artists Guild as well as The Artists of the South Slave in Fort Smith, NT. He is a regular participating artist at the Open Sky Festival in Fort Simpson, NT and the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, NT where he has won several awards.


Michel Labine - Glass Work - Fort Smith , NT

Michel Labine, of Metis heritage is originally from Northern Ontario, has made the Northwest Territories his home since 1980 and now lives in Fort Smith on the shores of the Slave River.  Michel began dabbling 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. I design unique custom northern stained glass and hot glass creations and panels that reflect the scenery, wildlife, culture and people of the Northwest Territories.  His stained glass pieces are displayed in many homes and offices throughout Canada, Australia, and the Circumpolar Region and all over the World. Among those who have received my commissioned works are the Prime Minister of Canada, The Governor General of Canada, former Governor General of Alberta, Numerous members of Parliament and Ministers including Justin Trudeau, the Bishop of Mackenzie Diocese, The Anglican Bishop, Mark Carney the Governor of the Bank of Canada. The Hamlet of Ulukhaktok, William J.S. Elliott Commissioner of RCMP, the Town of Fort Smith, the Premier of the Northwest Territories, the President of the People’s Republic of China, the Fort Smith Northern Life Museum and Aurora College.  Having taught over thirty drum making workshops to individuals from all walks of life, Mike is confident that his drum culture knowledge and practices will be enjoyable and valued. I continue to produce and teach drum making to people from all walks of life and cultures. I’ve gained experience in al stages of assembly and preparation of the drum. I have one of my pow-wow drums on permanent display within an aboriginal owned and operated Petro Canada Gas Station. I have gained local support from many aboriginal groups by assisting them with cultural drum construction and spirituality information.  I’ve also incorporated cultural drum techniques within my stained glass specialty creations.



Jennifer Lam - String art - Inuvik, NT

Jennifer Lam likes string. She likes making string. She likes playing with string. She likes knotting up her string and sometimes she ends up with something she keeps. Or else, she just unravels everything and starts all over again. It’s only string.



George Roberts - Metalwork/Leatherwork - Whitehorse, YT

George Roberts - or the Bandit, depending on which side of the law you're on! - is a maverick in the art of knife making. Not one to sit around and wait for someone else to make the coffee, George didn't like the cheap knives the fishing stores were hawking and started making his own while working as a fishing guide in Ontario. Always the go-getter, George is a founding member of the Canadian Knifemaker’s Guild, a guild promoting the art and craft of fine blades.  George's knives hang from the belts of all serious outdoorsmen in the Yukon where he make his home.  Be sure not to miss the opportunity to take one of his knife making workshops or delight in his new collection of finely-crafted jewellery.


James Ruben Jr. - Visual Arts - Paulatuk, NT

Born in Cambridge Bay, NU and an artist for 16 years, James works in acrylic painting and charcoal.  When he was very young and out on the land hunting, he watched his father draw a sketch which inspired him to become an artist.  James participated in the festival 6 yrs ago, and we are happy to welcome him back.



Curtis Taylor - Carving - Inuvik , NT

Curtis Taylor was born in Inuvik, NT to William and Sheila Taylor and raised in Tuktoyaktuk, NT. He is first of three brothers and two sisters. He and his wife have four children, two girls and two boys. He enjoys going on the land, travelling and hunting. 1n 1993, under the guidance of his father, Curtis began carving caribou antler. After six years of experimentation, he moved on to soapstone and hasn’t looked back. He comes from a large family of carvers and is inspired by images of hunters on the land.

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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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