Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak
b. 1968 Ulukhaktok, NT
Born in Ulukhaktok (Holman Island), a community known for its graphic art and needlework, Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak grew up enthralled by her grandmother Helen Kalvak’s stories, translating them to paper through drawing. Kalvak taught her granddaughter that drawing can be both a means of expression as well as a means of support for her and her family. Julia began printmaking in 1999, first with stenciling, a tradition which has strong roots in the community, then later with etching, a move which allowed Julia more control over her work and gave her a finished product that was closer to her drawings. Kalvak was the original interpreter of stories through art in Ulukhaktok, and Julia’s artwork shares the same honest and direct depictions of life. Where they differ, however, is their subject matter. Where Kalvak, a trained shaman and community leader, was exposed to otherworldly themes, the experiences that Julia translates to paper are more domestic, involving children and the similarities and dissimilarities between northern and southern life. Julia’s works possess a quality of charm, highlighting the whimsy in everyday life.
Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak Big Brother Pulling Sister on Bicycle 1999 Etching 28.5 × 37.9 cm