Malaija Pootoogook was born in Iqualuit in the cold winter month of January, 1971. She is the adopted daughter of Paulassie Pootoogook and Ishuhngitok Pootoogook, both now deceased. Malaija had been surrounded by artist 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.
Makaija 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 the Arctic wildlife are a continuing theme in her work.
2011, 2013 - Cape Dorset Graphics (Annual Collection and Illustrated catalogue)
October - November 2013 - Head Artist at a Toronto art gallery