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Kenojuak Ashevak

"“There is no word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal. I like to make people happy and everything happy. I am the light of happiness and I am a dancing owl.” 













Kenojuak Ashevak - Inuit Artist (1927- 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). She was married to Johnniebo and lived with him in various camps including Keakto, a scenic area seven miles from Cape Dorset. While living at Keakto in the late 1950's, both Kenojuak and Johnniebo first experimented with carving and drawing. They moved to Cape Dorset in 1966 and continued to work closely together until Johnniebo's death.
Kenojuak’s drawings were immediately captivating, and she was represented in almost every annual print collection since 1959. In 1970 her print, Enchanted Owl, was reproduced on a stamp commemorating the centennial of the Northwest Territories, and in 1993 Canada Post selected her drawing to be reproduced on their .86 cent stamp.
Her art and life were the focus of the limited edition book entitled Graphic Arts of the Inuit: Kenojuak, published in 1981. Kenojuak's print Nunavut Qajanatuk (Our Beautiful Land) was commissioned by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to commemorate the signing of the Inuit Land Claim Agreement in Principle, in April 1990.
Kenojuak received many special honors over the years. 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 as the first Inuit artist to be so honored, and joined many other famous and accomplished Canadians.
Kenojuak traveled all over the world from Japan to Europe as an ambassador for Inuit art.
In 2008, she added to her list of honors the Governor General’s Award for excellence in the visual arts.
In January, 2013, after a long and illustrious career, Kenojuak died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family.

Artist Website

Collections by Kenojuak Ashevak