Artist’s Legal Name: Martha Flaherty
Also known as: Martha
Artist lives in: Ottawa, ON
Community artist is from: Grise Fiord
Categories of art practiced: Beading Jewelry
Preferred materials & subjects: Jewelry making with beads and seal skin.
Year of Birth: 1950
Profession or Work: Interpreter/Translator and a Board Member
Artist’s background: Martha was born in Inujuaq and moved to Grise Fiord in 1957 when her father and his family were relocated to this new location along with many other northern Quebec families in order to establish Canadian Sovereignty in the high arctic. The move was particularly traumatizing because they were far from family and environment was radically different. In addition they were unable to hunt in the same way for food and skins. Martha remembers as the oldest daughter helping her parents survive and quickly learning to hunt, find food and clothing skins, and making necessary clothing and equipment. It was at this time that Martha’s traditional sewing skills quickly developed. Throughout her adult life as a translator travelling throughout Canada and the world and later as an Indigenous women’s advocate and the president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association, Martha studied and celebrated and made Inuit artworks including very creative clothing pieces and jewelry. Martha became one of the founding members of Isaruit Inuit Arts (Inuit Women’s Sewing) Centre in Ottawa in 2018. Martha continues to work as a translator to speak professionally, make films (see Martha of The North- National Film Board), and to make things in her spare time. At this stage of her life, she particularly enjoys beading.
Artist’s Involvement with Traditional Inuit culture: Inuktitut language; Sewing; Beading