Joanne Taptuna

Joanne Taptuna


Joanne Taptuna is a textile artist from Kugluktuk, NU, who is known for her floral designs on kamiik and mukluks. Taptuna is married to Peter Taptuna, former Premiere of Nunavut. During his term in office, they moved to Iqaluit, before returning to Kugluktuk in 2018. The two have five children and nine grandchildren.

Taptuna began sewing as a child, learning first from her aunt, June Klengenberg [1]. When Klengenberg retired from sewing, Taptuna turned to her elder sister, who taught her more complicated patterns and helped her with complex projects. Family is a major motivator for Taptuna, who spent years making slippers exclusively for herself, her children, and her grandchildren. As each child learned to square-dance, or drum-dance, Taptuna would make them a new pair of mukluks in the style traditional to her area [2].

Untitled (One-Year-Old Booties) (2019) are one of the first pairs she has made for someone outside her immediate family, in this case for the child of a friend. These works in process employ the floral beadwork for which Taptuna has become known, and their miniature scale is highly reminiscent of her earlier shoes for her grandchildren.

Taptuna was elected mayor of Kugluktuk in 2000 [3], and currently works as a Community Justice and Social Outreach worker there. She attended a mukluk-making workshop in her community in February 2019, which spurred her to begin creating outside her family. After posting photos from the workshop online, she received requests from all over Nunavut for her designs [4]. She was accepted to the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Festival’s Summer 2019 show, and says that her learning journey is all in service of her children and grandchildren, to whom she will someday pass her knowledge [5].

Artist Work

About Joanne Taptuna



Artistic Community:

Kugluktuk, NU

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.

Ried Island, NU
April 11, 1954

Spun Gold, 2019