Artist Story

Much of what inspires me as an artist is the cultural teachings I experienced at a young age as I traveled on the land and sea with my family. Knowledge, skills and traditions were passed down to me as it was generations before. The gifts I was given through history, northern cultures, the environment and its resources, are what drives my artistic path and brings to life the symbolisms that have sustained northern people from well before confederation to today. My daughters come from a long line of families in the North: Inuvialuit on my side, and Dene and Métis on their father’s side.

My artwork is a mixture between traditional Inuvialuit and contemporary art. I use a variety of art styles including writing, photography, painting and traditional design. The use of beadwork on traditional materials such as fur and hide allow me to express my culture through art. My patience, dedication and vision guide my artistic path. I have also incorporated my own videos and photographs into a variety of my pieces, strengthening the story and meaning behind my artwork. 

The deep roots I have to the North stem back to iconic landmarks and trails I’ve traveled, places I’ve visited, and ceremonies I’ve witnessed. Knowing the Dene, Metis, Inuvialuit, and non-Indigenous today drink from the same water, fish from the same River, and travel on the same flow of the Great Mackenzie River of the Northwest Territories, connect me to my forefathers. My ancestors and my girls are my inspiration.

Artist Bio: 

Myrna Pokiak is an Inuvialuk from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, born in the spring of 1979 to James and Maureen Pokiak. Myrna and her husband Eddie Paul, have three daughters, Mya, Launa, and Kara and currently reside in Yellowknife. Myrna has completed Bachelor Degree’s in Anthropology and Education, and working to achieve her MBA in Executive Management, and as an artist and business owner, she has worked with a variety of organizations from Museums, Universities, Land Claim Organizations, and Private Industry. She has had the honour to curate and provide photographs and videos for the most recent exhibit on the Inuvialuit Beluga Whale Harvest for the Canadian Museum of Nature (2019). In 2020, Myrna was selected to work with the Royal Canadian Mint to design a $30 Fine Silver Coin to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of NWT Joining Confederation.  

Last Updated: December 3, 2022

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