I enjoy drawing the different kinds of birds. I like to watch them fly; they look so peaceful and free.-Malaija Pootoogook
Malaija Pootoogook was born in Iqaluit in the cold winter month of January, 1971. She is the adopted daughter of Paulassie Pootoogook and Ishuhungitok Pootoogook, both now deceased. Malaija has been surrounded by artists in her family. Her father, Paulassie was highly regarded as a sculptor and her brother, Mosesee, is also a talented stone carver. Her brother, Itee Pootoogook, has received critical and popular acclaim for his contemporary drawings. Malaiya did her first drawing in 1994, inspired by the work of her great-grandmother, the late Pitseolak Ashoona. She was represented in the annual print collection for the first time in 2011 with two affecting images of the Arctic Owl. Expressive and monumental depictions of birds and Arctic wildlife are a continuing theme in her work.