Maureen Gruben

Maureen Gruben


Maureen Gruben is an impressive installation, performance and textile artist from Tuktuyaaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT. Gruben’s first introduction into the arts was through sewing with her mother and later working with pelts from trapping with her father. Gruben studied fine arts at Kelowna Okanagan College of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria where she received her BFA. Gruben’s knowledge of arctic land is rich and the admiration she feels for what the land offers for both survival and creation can be felt through her work.

Working primarily with fur, hides, skins and manufactured materials, Gruben forges a link between the land and the communities that live on it in her work, often activating themes around environmentalism, melting ice and Indigenous hunting rights. The organic materials in Gruben’s work are harvested from the community and are often mixed by the artist with manufactured materials such as bubble wrap, Velcro and plastic, resulting in pieces that invoke memory and healing by placing value in a relationship to the land and what it provides [1]. In Stitching My Landscape (2017) Gruben turned 1,000 feet of frozen ocean surrounding Ibyug Pingo (an ice-cored hill part of the Pingo Canadian Landmark) into a large-scale installation and performance work [2]. The piece consists of 111 fishing holes threaded with a 300-metre strip of scarlet red broadcloth creating a zig-zag stitch, puncturing the surface of the icy arctic landscape. Though the piece may seem shocking or even violent upon first glance, with the red cloth evoking imagery of hurt and pain, the stitching can also be read as a stitch or suture, bringing together and securing the two sides. For Gruben this work engages with discussion on land and the importance of the Indigenous hunting practices, specifically the seal which is central to Inuit life as having long sustained northern communities through both nourishment and protection through sealskin clothing [3].

Gruben was longlisted for the 2021 Sobey Art Award and has been recognized by Kelownaʼs En’owkin Centre with both their Eliza Jane Maracle Award and their Overall Achievement Award. She was also awarded the Elizabeth Valentine Prangnell Scholarship Award from the University of Victoria. Gruben has exhibited across Canada at institutions such as the Art Gallery of Guelph in Ontario and Grunt Gallery in Vancouver, BC. Gruben has been featured in many publications including the Inuit Art Quarterly.

In May 2023 Gruben was shortlisted for the 2023 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award.

Maureen Gruben savaat tadjva nunami, savaatlu ivaluksaqlu, inuyua Tuktuuyaqtuq, Northwest Territoriesmi. Gruben ilisimayuaq arctic nuna nakuyuuq kamagiyiyaa taamna nuna qaitaa atautchikun uumayuaq isaktuaqlu, isuma savaakmi. Savaktuaq tamaita qavvik, amiqlu taniktat surautat, Gruben savaat atuatchikun nunalu, inuuniarviklu savaat nunami, illagauyaqlu, Nunaruaqqaaqtuat anguniaqtiit pitquyat. Gruben savaat inugiaktut taksiyuat, takunaqtuq tamaita Canadami, iglum taamna Savaat Igluqpak Guelphmi, Vancouver Savaat Igluqpak, Winnipeg Savaat Igluqpaklu.

Artist Work

About Maureen Gruben


Installation, Multi-disciplinary, Performing Arts, Sculpture, Visual Arts

Artistic Community:

Tuktuuyaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), 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.