Realistic and diverse representations of Inuit women and their relationships to their bodies is something that Iqaluit, NU-based digital artist Avianna Mackenzie has made a central theme in her digital illustration practice. Creating art that combats colonized views and understandings of womanhood and femininity, Mackenzie’s work is created with a clear message of de-stigmatization and reinforcement of positive body image.
“We Inuit women are constantly pressured to be a certain way,” she says, “There are many things that are stigmatized for us if others decide it doesn’t fit into the stereotypical ‘woman’ role. I want to make art that pushes people to think more about gender roles.” 
Much of Mackenzie’s work is inspired by interactions she observes and engages in on social media, a place where women are both granted agency over their own bodies and representation, while simultaneously policed by others who seek to either shame or hypersexualize them. Colourism in the Inuit community and fair representation of a wide range of bodies and skin tones is also important to her and her series of middle finger images featuring traditional Inuit tattoos come in multiple shades that are reflective of that diversity. Currently, Mackenzie creates a line of t-shirts and products that feature her original digital designs under her label “Ulliaq Creations”.
This Profile was made possible through support from the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Project.
1. Quote pulled from an interview with Emily Henderson on May 25, 2020