Miriam Marealik Qiyuk is one of the eight surviving children of the Inuit artist Jessie Oonark, from Baker Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Qiyuk grew up in the traditional camp lifestyle and moved to Baker Lake while in her twenties. She is married to the artist Silas Qiyuk.
In the early 1960s Qiyuk began to do wall-hangings. Due to an unfortunate allergic reaction to wool, she had to discontinue producing textile works around 1980. Her carvings often deal with an episode of an Inuit legend in which the adventurous hero Kiviuq eventually marries a bird-woman. In these carvings, birds and human figures, delicately rendered, are entwined in a timeless sleep and appear to grow out of what is often an irregularly shaped flat piece of stone.
“North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary”, Maria Muehlen, 1995.
Qiyuk’s artist siblings are sisters Victoria Mamnguqsualuk, Mary Yuusipik Singaqti, Nancy Pukingrnak Aupaluktuk, Janet Kigusiuq, and Peggy Qablunaaq Aittauq, and brothers William Noah and Josiah Nuilaalik.
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, INAC, 1997.