Becky Qilavvaq (Kilabuk) is a self-taught multimedia artist and advocate currently based in Iqaluit, NU. She is a filmmaker, throat singer, photographer and textile artist with her own line of fashion and household products. She also works with the Department of Social Policy at the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to inspire and empower Inuit youth . Kilabuk is the co-founder and former president of the Embrace Life Council, a territorial suicide prevention organization . She studied Inuit History for two years in Ottawa, ON at Nunavut Sivuniksavut and earned an Adult Education diploma from St. Francis Xavier University in Halifax, NS . Kilabuk is primarily inspired by her father, acclaimed filmmaker John Houston and her mother Meeka Kilabuk, who was a world-renowned seamstress and fashion designer as well as a teacher and community leader who worked with the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, the Nunavut Implementation Commission and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
Qilavvaq has travelled as a cultural ambassador to various countries around the world, such as Japan, South Korea, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom, India and Greenland. She was also chosen to perform throat singing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, and wrote, directed and produced the short film Feel the Inukness (2012). Feel the Inukness tells the story of a young Inuk who is inspired by traditional jigging music instead of contemporary hip-hop. Qilavvaq has noted of her work that “In these challenging times for Inuit people, I seek ways to touch hearts and put smiles on faces through film” . She has designed digital applications to promote education and wellbeing, such as the ‘Ilinniarnarsivuq: Time for School’ application. She also developed the Atii Game Show, programming that teaches young people and families in communities about the importance of healthy eating as well as physical and emotional wellness through engaging games and activities.
Qilavvaq was named Emerging Filmmaker of the Year at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) Ajjiit Awards in 2012. She received two Commissioner’s Awards from the Commissioner of Nunavut in 2003 and 2008 for cultural preservation and youth activism as well as excellence in youth leadership. She also won the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for her community service and commitment to designing, developing and delivering a wide range of capacity-building programs and workshops that focus on leadership, Inuit culture and Inuit history.
This Profile was made possible through support from the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Project.