Germaine Arnaktauyok

Germaine Arnaktauyok
Courtesy IAF


Germaine Arnaktauyok is an accomplished artist and writer originally from Iglulik (Igloolik), NU and now living in Yellowknife, NT. She began studying art at Algonquin College, Ottawa, ON where she also worked as an illustrator of children’s books for the department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs (formerly Indian and Northern Affairs) [1]. After leaving the program, she moved to Iqaluit, NU and worked for the Frobisher Bay Arts and Crafts Centre [2]. For several years, Arnaktauyok worked in educational positions before returning to Iqaluit to study printmaking at Arctic College with Kyra Fischer in September 1992.

In her work, Arnaktauyok explores Inuit myths, stories and feminist narratives centred on birth and motherhood. She also brings attention to larger cultural and political issues that effect many Inuit, such as the continued impacts of colonization. Arnaktauyok developed her own unique drawing technique where she draws many fine, coiled lines. The result is a rich texture that gives her work the appearance of an etching. From her drawings, she learned to transfer her work to printmaking. Arnaktauyok enjoys experimenting with new mediums and modes of representation, including in recent years working with paint and textiles. 

Germaine Arnaktauyok’s work has been in exhibitions across Canada and internationally, with a major solo exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1998. Her work has appeared in the Inuit Art Quarterly several times as well as featured on the cover. A prolific writer, Arnaktauyok has written and illustrated many books, including her illustrations appearing in the work Takannaaluk published in 2018.



2000: Her print "Laughter in the Air" was featured on the cover of the Christmas card for the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

2000: The Royal Canadian Mint used Arnaktauyok's the "Mother and Child" image for the cover of cards used for Danielle Wetherup.

2000: Designed the special edition gold piece issued by the mint as part of the Native Cultures and Tradition Series.

2000: Prime Minister Jean Chretien honoured Arnaktauyok at a ceremony for her creation of "Drummer" and "Mother and Child" designs.

1999: Arnaktauyok's "Waiting in Silence" selected for the cover illustration for the Nunavut Annual Report. 

1999: Designed the back of the two-dollar coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint to commemorate the establishment of the province of Nunavut.

1994: "Things in the Sky" was featured on the cover of the 1994-1995 Northwest Territories telephone directory.

1976: Dominion Glass Ltd featured original drawings Arnaktauyok made for their own Glass production. 

1970: Illustrated "Harpoon of the Hunter" a book published by the Department of Indigenous and Northern Development.

Artist Work

About Germaine Arnaktauyok


Graphic Arts, Painting

Artistic Community:

Yellowknife, NT

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.

Iglulik, NU

Edit History

December 14, 2017 Created by: Dominique Bourassa Updated by: Lera Kotsyuba