Myrna Pokiak (Agnaviak) is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and curator from Tuktuyaaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), NT, currently residing in Yellowknife, NT. Much of what inspires her as an artist is the experiential and cultural teachings in which she was immersed at a young age as she traveled on the land and sea with her family. Knowledge, skills and traditions were passed down to her as it was generations before. Pokiak’s patience, dedication and vision guide her artistic path and practice, allowing her to express her culture through art.
Pokiak’s work is a blend between traditional Inuvialuit art and contemporary art. Employing a variety of media to bring her visions to life, she works in photography, drawing, beading and textile art and garments with fabric and fur. She frequently incorporates her photo and video work into many of her pieces.
Throughout Pokiak’s career as an artist and business owner, she has partnered with several organizations from museums, universities, land claim organizations, and private industries. Recently, she curated and provided the photographs and videos for Qilalukkat! Belugas and Inuvialuit: Our Survival Together which opened at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, ON on October 25, 2019 and will be available to view until September 13, 2021.
Pokiak has twice worked with the Royal Canadian Mint to feature her artwork on currency, first creating a coin to celebrate 150 Years of the Northwest Territories in 2020, and in 2023 collaborating with Indigenous artists Megan Currie and Jennine Krauchi on a $2 coin to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. These accomplishments illustrate her commitment and respect for the North, cultures, and our ancestors who motivate her in all that she does.
The gifts she was given through stories and experiences continue to drive Pokiak’s vision and illuminate the designs and symbolism that have sustained Northern people from well before confederation to today. History, northern cultures, the environment and resources, and most importantly, her daughters continue to inspire her to keep creating.