Kailin Aleekuk

Kailin Aleekuk
Courtesy the artist


Kailin Aleekuk is a self-taught Inuvialuk artist from Inuvik, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT, and  based in Edmonton, AB, whose practice includes drawing, embroidery and beadwork.

Aleekuk has fond memories of living in the North as a child, where she learned beading in elementary school before moving south around age eight. Growing up away from her Inuit culture from then onwards, Aleekuk felt disconnected. As an adult, she is reconnecting with and healing that part of herself through her art. “Art allows me to tell my story of my own battles with grief, mental health and self/body image,” she says. “It is possible to heal from trauma and get to a place in life where you can be inspired by it.” [1] Her father, a residential school survivor, has been a major inspiration driving this work. “He was proud of being Inuk but didn’t know how to show it or teach me or my siblings,” Aleekuk says. “What I am doing [with art] is not only for me…but for my dad and my ancestors. I want to be a light in the darkness for other Inuit who have felt like me.”

Aleekuk began to explore her creative practice through embroidery, even collaborating with her brother Kyle Natkusiak Aleekuk in 2021 to add hand embroidery to a series of clothing items. She has since taken up drawing, and really enjoys the creative freedom of this practice, always adding an “Inuit twist” to her drawings. “I enjoy taking pieces of memories from my childhood and tying together modern Inuit life and culture from my perspective.” In a 2023 series of teacups, which she drew with pencil in a lined journal, Aleekuk took inspiration from her maternal grandmother’s teacup collection to imagine new worlds within: a fish lunging above the surface, two hunters pursuing a pair of narwhals, or a woman melancholically soaking in the cup. Each teacup is adorned with traditional kakiniit designs, a reflection of reclaiming ownership over the colonization of tea. 

In 2024 Aleekuk began beading again, creating a series of bracelets, necklaces and earrings with floral themes before teaching herself other techniques, such as brick stitching and fringe. “I feel so alive when I bead and make jewellery,” she says, adding “this may be the route I choose [as an artist].” [2] While she is continuing to draw, creating small scale works as handmade cards, in the future Aleekuk wants to grow her skills as a jeweller and possibly begin selling her work online.

Artist Work

About Kailin Aleekuk


Graphic Arts, Textile

Artistic Community:

Edmonton, AB

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.