Mary K. Okheena

Mary K. Okheena
©Darlene Coward Wight

Mary Okheena is an Inuk artist, printmaker and storyteller. Raised in the remote community of Ulukhaktok (formerly Holman), Northwest Territories, she grew up watching her father and aunt create prints for the Holman Eskimo Art Co-operative. Okheena was still in her teens when she began making her own art and soon distinguished herself through her traditional printmaking, drawing and embroidery. In 1977, she became a member of the co-op in her own right. To date, more than 70 of Okheena's drawings have been made into prints, 36 of which she printed herself. Now living in Inuvik, Okheena is known for her narrative storytelling as well as for her vibrant drawings, woodcut prints and embroidered depictions of traditional Arctic life. Her work can be seen in galleries across Canada. Okheena is now the longest serving member of the Holman Co-op.

“There are some prints that I did like travelling on rough ice, a lot of us go through hard times and we go through some rough parts in life, and in order to pass those rough parts we have to continue, to pass the rough ice.”

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