Billy Merkosak was encouraged by elders and family to begin drawing at the tender age of 4. He draws inspiration for his evocative works from legends and stories told by elders about the traditional way of life. “It gives me great pride to connect the past and present together through modern Inuit art”, he says.
Billy creates sculpture works in a wide range of medium, including whalebone, soapstone, granite, ivory and wood. He enjoys creating large sculptures in bolder size to the smallest ivory ring. He also makes large drums and is primarily known for his mask making.
His works are sought after by visitors to Pond Inlet and can be found in numerous private and corporate collections. Over the years, Billy has worked in a variety of fields that draw upon his diverse range of skills and interests, including positions such as a Junior Project Officer for Public Works and Services and a Social Development Councillor for the Baffin Region.
Billy enjoys teaching the art of carving to children and thus has taught in number of festivals in Nunavut and Northwest Territories. On a numerous occasions, he has been invited to attend “Career Week” at the local high school in Pond Inlet. As well as to St. Michael Catholic School in Ottawa to teach stone carving and Inukshuk building.
“I like to travel out on the land and I respect my ancestors foot steps, I tend to re-live the old way of Inuit culture, it always gives me great pride to have been born and raised in the North, it’s a great sense of connection between past and present and to share my skills to the new generation”.
Billy has been involved with many exhibitions and workshops to enhance his skills in the field of Inuit art and continues to challenge himself in his artwork.