Yurak (Siku Rojas) is a painter/printmaker/illustrator and jewellery maker, as well as a learning tattooist from Iqaluit, NU. They have been making art since they were a young child. The encouragement from their teachers while growing up is what inspired them to continue making art and exploring new mediums. Their favourite themes in their artwork include tunniit— Inuit tattoos—as well as themes of their identity, wether that be depictions of Inuit culture, queer relationships or speckles of the struggle being a mixed raced Indigenous youth. They create work that appeals to the LGBTQIA2+ community, with a focus on highlighting genderfluid people and visual representations of queer Inuit.
Yurak has noted that their family is very artistic, Apayata Kotierk is an actor, Papatsi Kotierk a fashion designer, and Kunuk Kotierk is a rapper and that accounts partially for their interest in art and art making. They are also inspired by artists of their own generation, particularly the work of Dayle Kubloitok, and friend and fellow artist Malaya Kisa-Knickelbein. Yurak gets a lot of inspiration and support from Instagram, where they have begun selling their art within Canada.
Yurak’s work has incredible range, but some of the most striking pieces they produce are their portraits. Sometimes digital but often pencil drawn or painted, their subjects include non-binary Inuit with tunniit with expressive features and poses. Yurak uses vivid colour palettes to express themes of indigeneity and gender fluidity in their art. They also utilize traditional materials such as seal and char skin for their beautiful beaded jewellery.
This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.
Siku 2020 outdoor exhibition
© the Artist