Arctic XR / Arctic AR

ARCTIC XR/ARCTIC AR is created in partnership with Nuit Blanche Toronto, organized by Aabijijijwan New Media Lab, the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership project, and The Space Between Us project, and supported by the Indigenous Screen Office, Canadian Media Fund, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Casey Koyczan, (production still) from work-in-progress.

Arctic XR 

Tuesday, June 28 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Wednesday, June 29 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
At The Old Firehall
1105 Front St.
Whitehorse, YK

Don’t miss exciting digital and virtual art  that will premiere at the Arctic Arts Summit before going on to exhibit in locations across the country and internationally. ARCTIC XR will envelop audiences with six new works by northern Indigenous artists. These immersive films center on the retelling of a familial oral history, a mysterious monster, a land-based vision of past, present and future all at once, a glorious dream on the ice, an Inuit island utopia, and an Indigenous skateboard video filmed on the Yellowknife’s Dettah Ice Road.


Arctic AR

Accessible Tuesday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 29 

This is an outdoor exhibition and can be accessed all the time Along the waterfront, between the Old Firehall and Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre

In ARCTIC AR, experience a whole new world through your handheld device by walking along the Yukon River and seeking out QR Codes, in order to engage with augmented reality (AR) work by artists from around the circumpolar north virtually and on the land. Projects range from virtual beadwork to silvery fox stretchers, schools of swimming fish, alternate landscapes and avataq-shaped balloons floating in space.


Casey Koyczan

Casey Koyczan

“Ełeghàà ; All At Once” presents multiple overlapping timelines of Denendeh; the giant animals that roamed the North of the past, the present landscape, and the future infused with technology and habitable orbiting stations for our population as the world rebuilds itself. Inspired by legends, our current climate and society, and tentative future outcomes, this short film asks the question of what our world was, what it is now, and how it might be in the future.

Casey Koyczan is a Dene interdisciplinary artist from Yellowknife, NT, who uses various mediums to communicate how culture and technology can grow together in order for us to develop a better understanding of who we are, where we come from, and what we will be in the future. He creates with various tools to bring an idea to fruition; working mostly in sculpture, installation, 3D modelling, VR/360, experimentation, filmmaking, and audio works such as music, soundscapes and film scores.

Mark Igloliorte

Mark Igloliorte

Tuvak AkKusinialuk Siaggijâk (Ice Road Skating) features indigenous professional skateboarder Joe Buffalo along with film director Mark Igloliorte with local skaters Riel Stevenson – Burke and Joel Dragon Smith for a skate session on the Dettah Ice Road over the frozen Great Slave Lake. Taking time to relax after skating the group boil a kettle of tea and have a laugh before going their separate ways. At the end of the day, during the sunset magic hour, Igloliorte spray paint stencils Inuktitut words on skateboard decks in gradients which echo the changing light in the sky and across the snow covered landscape.

Mark Igloliorte (Inuk, Nunatsiavut) is an artist, essayist and educator. He is an associate professor of Frameworks and Interventions in Indigenous Art Practices, Department of Studio Arts at Concordia University.

As a scholar and artist his work investigates relating to indigenous futures through a grounding in the embodied practices and language. Igloliorte’s artistic work has been exhibited in solo and group shows across Canada as well as internationally. Including including New Zealand and The Netherlands.

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq

“The storm has caused a whiteout. Thick flakes of snow coupling with ferocious wind. The snowflakes turn tiny and reveal seven sun dogs on the horizon. The light is blazing. It’s the New Sun.”

Hungry for justice, hungry for truth, hungry for sustenance. A story of redemption, a story of survival. The awakening of self. Walk the frozen tundra in Nunavut, embraced by brilliant light as ice crystals form, and surround yourself with the beauty of seven sun dogs. Travel along ice floes of the Arctic Ocean, and dive in to feel the icy waters. Feel the warmth and glow of Arctic Char in your tummy, warming your throat and body. Burgeoning new life and new life and hope to your core.

An adaptation of a dream Tanya Tagaq transposes to prose in an excerpt from her acclaimed novel Split Tooth. Digital multimedia artist Driftnote (Omar Rivero) directs, animates and transports you to a glorious landscape in Nunavut, bringing the arctic to you. Sonically breathing into your auditory space, composer and arranger Daedelus (Alfred Darlington) translates time and space, carrying you through while you become invincible as a “bear lover, human lover, ice pleaser.” You will live another year.

From Ikaluktutiak (Cambridge Bay), Nunavut, internationally celebrated artist Tanya Tagaq is an improvisational singer, avant-garde composer and bestselling author. A member of the Order of Canada, Polaris Music Prize and JUNO Award winner and recipient of multiple honorary doctorates, Tagaq is an original disruptor, a world-changing figure at the forefront of seismic social, political and environmental change.

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory

TARTUPALUK is a virtual reality experience during which users are invited to visit the imaginary Republic of Tartupaluk.

Created by, directed by and starring Greenlandic-Canadian performance artist and writer Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory as the larger-than-life, newly inaugurated President of the Republic , TARTUPALUK blends 360 live-action video, motion-capture animation and VFX to bring to life a poetic and humorous Inuit utopia set on a tiny island within the territorial waters of both Canada and Greenland.

Laakkuluk is a Kalaaleq (Greenlandic Inuk) performance artist, poet, actor, curator, storyteller, filmmaker and writer. She is known for performing uaajeerneq, a Greenlandic mask dance. She performs internationally, collaborates with other artists and is a fierce advocate for Inuit artists. Winner of the 2021 Sobey Prize, Laakkuluk lives with her family in Iqaluit.

Melaw Nakehk’o

Melaw Nakehk’o 

A young man walks home to his grandmother.

Recreating a memory shared by my great uncle. Remembering the journey’s we have made across our territories, like the journey’s me make today. The act of re-connecting to our communities, the land, our culture, the journey’s we make for education, work, opportunities, for love. Leaving and returning, the paths, the trails, the journey. How we come back to ourselves.

Melaw Nakehk’o is an Indigenous artist whose multidisciplinary practice spans film, painting, beadwork, digital art, and traditional hide tanning. Melaw is Dene/Dënesųłiné from the Łííidlįįi Kúé First Nation.

Melaw first learned how to bead and sew from her grandmother. Went on to study visual arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she returned to Denendeh in 2008 and immersed herself in her cultural teachings. She led a revival in using traditional techniques to tan moosehide, inspiring a resurgence of this practice. #revolutionmoosehide became a community-building movement across Canada, empowering Indigenous learners and artists to reconnect with their cultural practices.

Melaw’s artwork explores her relationship with her own identity, cultural continuity in her Nation, and with broader global issues such as climate change. Her work is the intersection of modern media, storytelling, and traditional knowledge.

Nyla Innuksuk

Nyla Innuksuk 

An inexperienced hunter is determined to hunt foxes in the nearby woods, but ends up catching something much more unexpected instead.

Nyla Innuksuk is the founder of Mixtape. A writer for Marvel Comics, Innuksuk co-created the character of Snowguard, a teenage superhero from Pangnirtung, Nunavut. Nyla’s directorial debut, an alien invasion feature titled slash/back, will have it’s premier at SXSW. She is developing a second narrative feature, TV projects, and a short horror film that will be shot with 8 cameras at once and be displayed on a 270 degree, 24K screen at the 2022 Venice Biennale. Working in mixed media allows Nyla to channel her passions for technology and genre storytelling among mediums that include interactive graphic novels, film, television and synthetic experiences. Originally from Nunavut, Nyla currently lives in Toronto.

Arctic AR Artists

Tsēma Igharas

“Riot Rock Rattles”

This work links our bodies to sound, the land and the mining of culture and the earth.

Project Description

“Riot Rock Rattles” replicate riot rocks, which are rocks easily held in the hand and generally perceived as threats. As rattles, “Riot Rock Rattles” have the potential for riot or the potential for ceremony. They are copper, rawhide, and ceramic – materials that symbolize both cultural and industrial value refined across ancient cultures. Activated by shaking, these rattles connect those who come in contact with them and with these materials, currently mined in Native territories. In making this connection, the rattles create material and mechanical relationships that link bodies to the LAND.

Tsēmā Igharas is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist of Tahltan First Nation descent. She uses Potlatch methodology to create conceptual artworks influenced by her mentorship in Northwest Coast Indigenous sculpture and design, studies in visual culture, and time spent in the mountains. Her work has been shown and performed across Canada and abroad.




Couzyn Van Heuvelen


A reimagining of the avataq; a traditional float made from one full sealskin, inflated with air, plugged, and tied off.

Project Description

The avataq is an important tool used in conjunction with a harpoon in traditional Inuit hunting practices. It allows hunters to track and tire marine animals in order to catch them. This work relies on the shared similarities between the avataq and foil balloon to bring together the connotations both objects carry. It calls attention to a location or event by taking an inviting and accessible form, and is a way to celebrate Inuit culture and traditions.

Couzyn van Heuvelen is an Inuk artist originally from Iqaluit, Nunavut. His work is primarily sculpture- and installation-based and explores Inuit culture and identity, new and old technologies, and personal narratives. While rooted in the history and traditions of Inuit art, Heuvelen strays from established Inuit art making methods and explores a range of fabrication processes.


Maureen Gruben


With “Kagisaaluq,” Maureen Gruben offers the simple beauty of an Inuvialuit fox stretcher.

Project Description

Multiplied and presented at a larger than life scale, the dimensions of this specific form are those of a fox stretcher carved by the artist’s father, Eddie Gruben. Eddie set his first trap in the early 1920s when he was just four-years-old, to help feed his family. By the 1950s he was helping to support his entire community.

The shining surfaces of “Kagisaaluq” are reminiscent of Arctic ice and snow that, when the sky is clear, create a landscape of light. Their interlaced repetition speaks to the determined persistence of cultural forms across generations, and to the prism of memory in which an individual’s life is held by the many people he or she touches. As artworks can be tools for forging connections, learning, and inquiry, handcrafted Inuvialuit tools like Eddie Gruben’s fox stretcher are also works of art that, in their presence and use, bind together family, community, and culture.

Inuvialuk artist Maureen Gruben employs an intimate materiality as she disassembles and re-combines disparate organic and industrial elements. While referring explicitly inward to localized acts of hunting, gathering, and communal preparation and sharing, her work extends decisively outward, exploring new visual languages that offer compelling and often urgent global associations. Gruben’s work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally.

Kaylyn Baker.

Kaylyn Baker

“Journey Of The Hunt ”

A colourful topography referencing the experience of going off on the land to hunt, crafted of beads, tufting, and quills.  

Project Description

The physical beaded piece this Augmented Reality work is based on is inspired by the hunting experience. From the land’s fantastic colour palette in the fall to the shimmer of frost on the ground, through the pinks of animal fats and the purples of drying fireweed, the hues of the sky from sunrise to sunset, the browns of hide and antler, and to the black of night reflected in rippling rivers and still lakes. Depicting a successful hunt in beadwork, quill and tuft, this textured work, transformed into AR, becomes a fascinating landscape replete with antler ‘mountains’ from home. 

Kaylyn Baker, Northern Tutchone and Tlingit from the Yukon, is a citizen of Selkirk First Nation and is of the Raven Clan. An avid beader, Baker uses beads, quills and tufting to create her own designs, translating her work into earrings, mukluks, moccasins, cuffs and purses, and also has her own line of clothing and textiles featuring images of that work. Sarah Swan has written that her artwork is not only an aesthetic experience, but also always has a narrative. “Each piece is inspired by a memory or a story or a friend.” Quoting Kaylyn, Swan notes that she ‘heard a phrase one time – symphony of thoughts – that I really like […] It is what my pieces are. So many textures, never flat. I give myself permission to try things. I do whatever I feel like in the moment!’” 

Tamika Knutson

Tamika Knutson

“Lichen Worldview”

Knutson’s vision will immerse you in the tiny, vibrant world of lichens and mosses usually found beneath your feet.

Project Description

Tamika Knutson has always been curious and fascinated by the lively shapes of moss and lichen found in the forest and on the land. Through Augmented Reality, she enlarges their forms to highlight their unique colours, intricate shapes and textures, inviting audiences to see and experience them from a different perspective.

 Tamika Knutson is Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation from Dawson City, Yukon. After studying at Yukon School of Visual Arts and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Tamika earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in jewellery design and metalsmithing in 2017. She has since worked at her local arts organization, attended residencies, exhibited her art around the Yukon as well as participated in arts markets and festivals. She currently lives in Whitehorse and works in the Visual Arts Section at the Government of Yukon and continues to explore and create as much as possible.