Born in Iqaluit, Saimaiyu Akesuk has lived in Kinngait / Cape Dorset her whole life. Her parents are Lau Akesuk, mother, and Olayuk Akesuk, father, who was one of the first Members of the Legislative Assembly in Nunavut. Saimaiyu was inspired to start drawing by Ningeokuluk Teevee while they were taking a class together at the Nunavut Teaching Education Program. Saimaiyu’s confident drawings of birds and bears are characterized by her bold and dynamic simplicity rendered with soft tenderness and quite often a touch of whimsy.
Her work is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. In 2015, she was one of two Inuit artists who inaugurated The Cape Dorset Legacy Project, an annual creative residency and symposium hosted at this legendary New York institution.