Artist Story

Atira Taalrumiq (My name is Taalrumiq).  I work with traditional Inuvialuit design elements and organic materials like sealskin, fur, hide, feathers and antler in combination with modern materials like sequins, beads and metallic leather, to create contemporary Inuit adornment such as jewelry, garments and fine art pieces. Each piece I make is created with the utmost love, care, quality and attention to detail as if I was sewing for my own family.

I feel fortunate to live in a time where I can carry the traditions of my family using my skills not only for survival, but as a form of artistic expression and storytelling. My culture, childhood memories of working on whale or fishing with my mom, the ice, the ocean, animals, midnight sun, the Pingo landscape, our Elders, Ancestors, our drum beats, songs, dances and clothing all inspire me. There is so much beauty to behold that the possibilities to create are endless!

From my earliest memories, I have been interested in everything creative. I come from a long line of talented Inuit women who were expert seamstresses.  Growing up, my siblings, cousins and I frequently spent time in our Anaanak’s (Grandmother’s) sewing room, where the scent of fur and hides was familiar and comforting. My mom was always sewing. When I was 4, she made me my very own sewing kit out of a Pilot Biscuit box filled with needles, thread, and fabric. I was so proud to have my very own sewing kit!

Later on, I learned more technical sewing skills at the University of Alberta, where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology and a Bachelor of Education, majoring in Home Economics and minoring in Art.  My plan was to teach afterwards, but I decided to focus on my young family of five. During that time, I sewed for my children, maintaining my skills and practicing new designs. In 2019, I began sharing my work on social media. I’m now happily growing my brand of Inuvialuit art and design: Taalrumiq.

There’s so much creative energy in me that I feel I have no other choice but to create!  My biggest inspiration always remains Inuvialuit people: my family, Ancestors, Elders, and my community members. It’s important for me to share and preserve our stories of survival and resilience through my artwork. I hope to inspire young Inuvialuit and to help them feel empowered, capable, and confident as they move forward.

No matter where I am in the world, I am Inuvialuk. My artwork makes me feel connected to that truth. Creating, viewing, and appreciating art is a necessary part of who we are as Inuvialuit people. We lost so much of our culture, our language, and our identity due to colonization, so it’s important to create pieces that celebrate us, to remember where we come from, who we come from, and what we are capable of. Being able to use my skills as an artist to share our culture or to inspire others to reclaim their identity - I find that to be healing and necessary work. Quyanainni!

Artist Bio: 

Taalrumiq | Christina King is an Inuvialuk Artist & Fashion Designer, Cultural Educator and Digital Content Creator from Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvialuit Settlement Region. With her husband, their 5 young children and Bernedoodle Munaqsi, they divide their time living in her home community of Tuktuuyaqtuuq and Terrace, BC.

The skills, talent and passion she inherited from her matrilineal line of expert Inuit Seamstresses and Gwich'in Jijuus combined with a contemporary education allow a unique opportunity for Taalrumiq to create, teach and share Inuvialuit culture with the world as a form of storytelling and cultural preservation through art, design and digital content.  At the same time reclaiming loss of culture, pride in Indigenous identity, and healing of intergenerational trauma. 

Taalrumiq was gifted an ancestral traditional Inuit name by local Elders in her community when she was a baby, named after her maternal Great-Naanak Taalrumiq (Mary Gruben) who was named after her Naanak in the tradition of their ancestors.  

Born in a segregated Indian hospital far from her ancestral homeland in Nehiyawak (Cree) traditional territory of Amiswaciy Waskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta) to an Inuvialuk mother and Gwich'in father, Taalrumiq was raised in Tuktoyaktuk with her Inuvialuit family, community and culture. She is one of many granddaughters of well known traditional master Seamstress Alice (Cockney) Gruben. She is also Gwich’in on her Dad’s side with family and community in Aklavik and Inuvik. Her Jijuu Liza (Albert/Njoodtli) Louie was known for her exquisite sewing and beadwork, as is her Aunt Eileen (Louie) Wilson.

Wanting to be an Artist from an early age, she was always interested in the arts and creative expression. Her earliest memory is of her Mom making a sewing kit for her out of a pilot bicsuit box!  She earned a Red Seal Journeyman Hairstylist Certificate after high school and through this career path she learned how to present a professional image and speak to complete strangers, a challenging feat for an introvert! Later she graduated from the University of Alberta from a double degree program in which she earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology and a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education, majoring in Career & Technology Studies (Home Economics/Fashion Studies), minoring in Art.

Passionate about reclaiming aspects of her culture and identity that were lost or previously inaccessible due to the residential school era, Taalrumiq uses the same traditional materials, design and sewing techniques as her ancestors, reimagining tradition with a contemporary vision.  In her original Inuit fine art, Inuvialuit couture garments and accessories, she incorporates sealskin, furs, antler with post fur trade era materials like leather with metallic finishes, sequins, glitter and beadwork.

Utiltizing popular social media platforms like Tiktok she shares Inuvialuit culture with the world.  Taalrumiq educates through compelling short format videos 'Invuialuit-izing' trends, sharing Inuvialuit clothing, culture, food and humour through original content and skits. She has built up a healthy following who enjoy her Inuvialuit content.

Recent professional achievements include:

  • Original wood cut Print on the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s 2019 Corporate Christmas Card, also in their corporate collection. 
  • Top 20 finalist in the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s 2020 National Ribbon Skirt Competition, with a Ribbon skirt titled ‘Arctic Night.’
  • Sealskin pandemic mask set titled ‘Inuvialuit Fortitude’ currently on tour across Canada with the ‘Breathe.’ Exhibit from 2021 to 2023.
  • Beaded sealskin walrus tusk mask, titled ‘The Bounty of our Land,’ for the ‘Breathe. 2nd Wave’ Exhibit is scheduled to tour Canada till 2023 in the Breath.II exhibit at various art galleries.
  • Summer 2021, Mentor Artist on the Healthy Strong Elders mural (on exhibit outside Home Base Youth Centre) for Strong People, Strong Communities Indigenous Mural art project in Yellowknife. 
  • Sealskin pandemic mask 'Unmasking Identity: Reclaiming Inuit Identity in Modern Times,' commissioned pandemic mask on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and part of their permanent collection
  • Inaugural Tiktok Accelerator for Indigenous Creators program through the National Screen Institute of Canada in 2021.  Part of Tiktok's official North America Creator Community.
  • Indigenous Haute Couture Fashion Residency program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
  • Successfully pitching to win the People's Choice prize, Recipient of the Aritzia Fashion Grant and an Alumni prize winner in the 2022 Pow Wow Pitch, an Indigenous Entrepreneur pitch competition for Entrepreneurs across Turtle Island.

"I feel fortunate to live in a time where I can carry on the traditions of my family using my skills not only for survival, but as a form of artistic expression, storytelling and cultural preservation. Each piece I make is created with the utmost love and care, as if I were sewing for my own family.” 

To learn more, follow on Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram @ Taalrumiq

LinkedIn: Taalrumiq Christina King

Last Updated: October 24, 2022

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