Darcie Bernhardt is an emerging Inuvialuk visual artist and curator from Tuktuyaaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT. They are currently based in Halifax, NS. They graduated from NSCAD University in 2019, and also earned a Fine Arts Certificate from the School of Visual Arts at Yukon College in 2013. Bernhardt’s artistic practice primarily focuses on oil painting and drawing various domestic spaces, memories and contemporary life in northern communities.
In 2018, they participated in a group performance Kinuk under the direction of multidisciplinary Mi’kmaq artist Ursula Johnson in South Brookfield, NS. Bernhardt additionally collaborated with other artists to create Memory Keepers 1 (2019), a multimedia installation at Nuit Blanche in Montreal, QC. They also created charcoal animations for this project.
Bernhardt’s first solo exhibition Ouiyaghasiak (2019) presented works that explore “intimate moments from [their] Inuvialuit and Gwich’in communities,” a staple of the artist's practice . In the oil painting Nanuk and Nanogak (2018), Bernhardt illustrates a young child and a woman sitting in the snow and ice fishing. The pair's bright blue and purple parkas are emphasized against the white snow. The scene is rendered with light pastel colours and loose brushstrokes to suggest both nostalgia and the fleeting intangible quality of childhood memories. “I think what was important for my artistic practice now is being able to reclaim and re-articulate my understanding of art,” the artist explains, "also through trying to reconnect with my culture" . They described their paintings by adding “they were memories, they were unfinished, as some would say, but it’s also how you think about certain images that you’re not completely sure about—it’s fuzzy, almost empty” .
Bernhardt has also participated in several curatorial projects and artistic residencies. Their work has been exhibited throughout Canada, such as at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax, NS, NSCAD University and in the group exhibition Worn Inward at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax.
Bernhardt is a recipient of the Indigenous Artist Recognition Award from Arts Nova Scotia (2020) and the William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists from the Hnatyshyn Foundation (2022).