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Kenojuak Ashevak

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Date of Birth: October 3, 1927 – d. January 8, 2013
Born on south Baffin Island at a camp area known as Ikirisaq, Kenojuak grew up traveling from camp to camp on south Baffin and in Arctic Quebec (Nunavik).

Kenojuak’s drawings were immediately captivating, and she has been represented in almost every annual print collection since 1959. Her work has also been included in numerous special projects and commissions. In 1961, she was the subject of a film produced by the National Film Board about her traditional life and art. The film is still shown today, and was instrumental in introducing her to the world beyond Cape Dorset. In 1970, her print, "Enchanted Owl" (1960), was reproduced on a stamp commemorating the centennial of the Northwest Territories, and again in 1993, Canada Post selected her drawing, "The Owl", to be reproduced on their .86 cent stamp.

Kenojuak has received many special honours over the years. She is now a Companion in the Order of Canada, which she originally received in 1967. In 1996, she received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Ceremony in Vancouver. In the spring of 2001, Kenojuak was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame, and traveled with her daughter, Silaqi, to attend the ceremonies in Toronto. She is the first Inuit artist to be so honoured, and joins many other famous and accomplished Canadians.

Kenojuak has traveled all over the world as an ambassador for Inuit art. In 1969, she and Johnniebo traveled to Ottawa to collaborate on a mural, which hung in the Canadian Pavilion, at Expo ‘70 in Osaka, Japan. In 1980, she traveled to Rotterdam, Holland, to be present at The Inuit Print exhibition, which was opened by the Queen of the Netherlands. In 1991, she traveled to Soeul, South Korea, to attend the opening of an exhibition of prints and sculpture, and in 1994, she was invited to open the exhibition Arctic Spirit: 35 Years of Canadian Inuit Art, at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington. In 2004, she was off to Germany to take part in cultural festivities celebrating the territory of Nunavut, and her contribution to Inuit graphic art. Her major stained glass commission was installed in the fall of 2004, at the John Bell Chapel at Appleby College, in Oakville, just west of Toronto.

In the fall of 2007, Kenojuak traveled to Toronto, to attend the launch of Cape Dorset Prints: A Retrospective – a major publication celebrating fifty years of printmaking at the Kinngait Studios. In 2008, she added to her list of honours, the Governor General’s Award for excellence in the visual arts. Sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, she traveled to Ottawa in March 2008 with her daughter, Silaqi, to attend the exhibition at the National Gallery and events at the residence of the Governor General. She was back in Ottawa in 2009, to participate in events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Kinngait Studios.
In January, 2013, after a long and illustrious career, Kenojuak died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family.

Courtesy of Dorset Fine Arts, 2013.

  • Alerted Birds, Kenojuak Ashevak
    Kenojuak Ashevak
  • Dashing Bird
    Kenojuak Ashevak
  • Eternal Spirit, Kenojuak Ashevak
    Kenojuak Ashevak

Native Art Gallery
94 George Street at Lakeshore Road
Oakville, Ontario L6J 3B7 Canada


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