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 . While also an accomplished graphic artist, Mikkigak much preferred working with stone, favouring the three-dimensional quality of the medium .
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) . 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 .
1980, 1981 and 1986: Prints included in the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection.
1. Kyra Vladykov Fisher, “Qaunaq Mikkigaq,” Guide to Cape Dorset Artists, (Cape Dorset: Municipality of Cape Dorset, 2008), 106.
2. Ibid., 107.
3. Jean Blodgett and Susan Gustavison, Strange Scenes: Early Cape Dorset Drawings, (Kleinburg: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1993), 52.
4. "Qaunaq Mikkigak," InhabitMedia, accessed July 12, 2019, https://inhabitmedia.com/2011/06/19/qaunaq-mikkigak/.