Qaunaq Mikkigak

Qaunaq Mikkigak
Courtesy Spirit Wrestler Gallery


Qaunaq Mikkigak is a carver, graphic artist, singer, dressmaker and writer from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU. Finding inspiration in the work of her parents, she took up drawing and carving as a child. With James Houston’s guidance in the 1950s, Mikkigak was convinced to try her hand at sculpting more seriously through employment at the co-op. Among her favourite subjects were women engaged in traditional activities, which she faithfully captured in her intimate sculptures [1]. While also an accomplished graphic artist, Mikkigak much preferred working with stone, favouring the three-dimensional quality of the medium [2].

Mikkigak’s creativity has since been channeled through a multitude of artistic practices. She started throat singing when she was three years old and has been performing professionally since 1970, singing for the Queen of England, prime ministers of Canada, and many other international dignitaries. Mikkigak also enjoys making finely beaded amauti and has had her jewellery showcased in the travelling exhibition, Things that Make Us Beautiful (1977–78) [3]. In addition, many of her drawings were translated into editioned works as part of the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection in the early to mid-1980s.

Mikkigak is passionate about imparting her knowledge and sharing Inuit culture with the next generation. As an elder in the community, she offers throat singing lessons and works as a childcare provider at the local daycare. Known for her vibrant storytelling, Mikkigak has co-authored two children’s books, Grandmother Ptarmigan (2013) and The Legend of the Fog (2011), presenting illustrated versions of traditional tales [4].


1980, 1981 and 1986: Prints included in the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection.

ᐊᔾᔨᒌᙱᑦᑐᓄᑦ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᑎᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᖃᐅᓐᓇᖅ ᒥᑭᒡᒐᖅ, ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᑎᐅᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ, ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎᐅᓪᓗᓂ, ᒥᖅᓱᖅᑎᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑎᑎᕋᖅᑎᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᑭᙵᐃᑦ, ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥ. ᐊᒥᓱᓂᑦ ᐊᔪᙱᓐᓂᖃᕋᓗᐊᖅᑐᓂ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ, ᑭᙵᐃᑦ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᕋᑦᓴᖏᑦ ᐆᔭᐅᔭᐅᓪᓗᑎ ᐅᔭᕋᑦ ᒥᑭᒡᒐᐅᑉ ᐊᑐᕈᒪᓂᖅᐹᕆᓯᒪᔭᖓ ᑕᐃᒫᒃ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖃᑦᑕᖅᑐᖅ ᐱᐊᑦᑐᓂᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑕᑯᑦᓴᐅᑦᓯᐊᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐋᖅᑭᑦᓯᒪᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ. ᐃᓐᓇᐅᓕᖅᓱᓂ, ᒥᑭᒡᒐᖅ ᖁᕕᐊᒋᔭᖃᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓴᖅᑭᔮᖅᑎᑦᓯᓂᕐᒥᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᒥᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐃᓗᖅᑯᓯᖓ ᖃᐅᔨᔭᐅᖁᓪᓗᓂᐅᒃ ᑭᖑᕚᕆᔭᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᖏᑎᒍᑦ. ᐃᓚᒋᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᑖᒃᑯᓄᖓ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖑᔪᓄᑦ, ᑎᑎᕋᖃᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓱᕈᓯᕐᓄᑦ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᒐᕐᓂᒃ “The Legend of the Fog” (ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᖅ ᑕᑦᓯᐅᑉ ᒥᑦᓵᓄᑦ) (2012) ᐊᒻᒪᓗ “Grandmother Ptarmigan” (ᐊᓈᓇᑦᓯᐊᖅ ᐊᕿᒡᒋᖅ) (2013) ᑐᙵᕕᖃᖅᑐᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᑐᖃᕐᓂᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ 2017−ᒥᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᓂᕆᔭᖓᓂ ᑭᕕᐅᑉ ᒥᑦᓵᓄᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᖁᙱᐊᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᒃ “Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic” (ᑭᕕᐅᖅ ᐅᑎᖅᑐᖅ: ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᖓ). ᓴᓇᓯᒪᔭᖏᑦ ᑕᑯᔭᐅᒍᓐᓇᖅᑐᑦ ᓄᐊᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᒌᙱᑦᑐᓂᑦ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᕐᕕᖃᕐᕕᐅᔪᓂᑦ, ᑕᐃᑲᓂᓗ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᕐᕕᔾᔪᐊᖓᓂ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ ᐋᑐᐋ, ᐋᓐᑎᐅᕆᐆᒥ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᐃᓂᐱᒡᒥ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᖃᕐᕕᖓᓂ ᒫᓂᑑᐸᒥ ᐊᓯᖏᓐᓂᓪᓗ.

Artist Work

About Qaunaq Mikkigak


Graphic Arts, Jewellery, Sculpture

Artistic Community:

Kinngait (Cape Dorset), 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.


Date of Death:

Artists may have multiple dates of death listed as a result of when and where they passed away. Similar to date of birth, an artist may have passed away outside of a community centre or in another community resulting in different dates being recorded.


Edit History

May 16, 2019 Profile edited by Kirk Kitzul