Olivia (Akeeshoo) Chislett is a multimedia artist from Iqaluit, NU, who primarily works in graphic art and throatsinging. In addition to her artistic practice, Chislett also teaches throatsinging at the local high school.
Chislett’s artistic practice began early in life; she learned to throatsing in daycare and began teaching by age twelve. Throatsinging and music in general was a way to connect with her culture; Chislett identifies as a “mixed Inuk” and used music and more broadly traditional mediums like carving and poetry to explore her Inuk roots.
“I like to create art in as many forms as I am able to,”  says Chislett when asked about the breadth of her practice. She began working more seriously on her drawing skills after an artist came to teach a class at her elementary school and Chislett realized that it was a potential career path that would give her the freedom to create what she wanted without limits. Drawing has since become her favourite medium to work in, and the one in which she feels she has the greatest control. She begins her drawings on paper to sketch and brainstorm, before moving them to digital software to refine and finalize.
Chislett is inspired by mythology and the supernatural, with a growing emphasis on horror and body horror. In particular, she loves to draw horror figures and make them seem empathetic. “I love to see things from the monster’s point of view,” she says. “A lot of times I relate more to the monster.” Her portrayals of monsters are influenced by the realistic and terrifying giants, mahahaas and qalupilaks created by Inuk artist Babah Kalluk for the Taiksumani: Inuit Myths and Legends books and the illustrations Stephen Gammell created for the children’s book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Chislett was one of the winners of the 2021 National Fur Design Competition, and is expected to travel to Toronto Metropolitan University in Toronto, ON, in 2022 to craft her garments once travel becomes safer. She published a comic as part of Hekate Press’s 2021 The Northern Gaze Comics Anthology in 2021, and her solo comic, a 12-page book about a boy who is secretly a monster, will be released with the same publisher in June 2022. If all goes well with this solo work, she plans to begin creation on a longer comic narrative, which she’s been planning for since the beginning of high school.
This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.