Germaine Arnaktauyok

(1946 – Present)

Germaine Arnaktauyok is one of the most successful graphic artists currently working today. Born just outside of Igloolik in the Northwest Territories, Germaine was raised in a thriving artistic environment thanks to her parents, Isidore Iytok and Therese Natsiq Tulugatjuk, both of whom were carvers. Her early years were spent living a traditional life on the land until she was sent to a residential school in Chesterfield Inlet in 1955. Here she received her first formal art lesson in painting, and she would continue her arts education at a number of schools, including the University of Manitoba and Algonquin College in Ottawa.

Germaine has been drawing since her youth, using primarily pen and coloured pencil. She completed a printmaking course at the Arctic College in Iqaluit in 1992, where she learned how to work with metal engraving and etching. This experience allowed her to translate her striking drawings into a reproducible medium. Etching gives her prints their fine lines and detail, while she uses aquatint to create the characteristic washes of colour that have become a signature stylistic feature of her work. Germaine’s work reflects her cultural roots and the rich mythology and folklore of her ancestors. She has also traveled extensively throughout North America as a printmaking educator, sharing her wisdom through demonstrations.