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Kenojuak: From Drawing to Print

August 30 to November 30, 2008

I just take these things out of my thoughts and out of my imagination, and I don’t really give any weight to the idea of its being an image of something.... I am just concentrating on placing it down on paper in a way that is pleasing to my own eye, whether it has anything to do with subjective reality or not.
Kenojuak Ashevak
(interview with Jean Blodgett, May 1980)

Born in an igloo on October 3, 1927 east of Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Kenojuak Ashevak has charmed Canadians and the rest of the world with her unique vision and keen sense of design. Kenojuak began to draw in 1957 at the encouragement of James Houston and is now one of the best-known Inuit artists of her time.

Opening at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on May 31, 2008, the exhibit, curated by McMichael’s Assistant Curator Shawna White and entitled, Kenojuak: From Drawing to Print, examines Kenojuak’s involvement with the Cape Dorset printing program by comparing a selection of Kenojuak’s drawings to their subsequent prints.

Kenojuak, like most Inuit graphic artists, relies on the considerable skills of print shop staff to transfer her drawings into print. At times, changes made to the original drawing compositions are minimal, but during the early 1970s, extensive changes were made, particularly in the use of colour and markings.

Focusing on the collaborative relationship between artist and printmaker, this exhibition contains 22 of Kenojuak’s works (11 drawings and 11 prints), including a magnificent large drawing commissioned by private collectors in 2004. Archival photographs of Kenojuak and brief biographies and photos of some of the key printmakers who transformed Kenojuak’s designs into print form will also be on display.

Drawing for Blue Owl

Kenojuak Ashevak, b.1927
Blue Owl, 1969
stonecut on paper
printed by Lukta Qiatsuk, b.1928
62.5 x 87.3 cm
Collection of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative Ltd., on loan to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Reproduced with the permission of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative, Cape Dorset, Nunavut

Photograph of Kenojuak Ashevak

Kenojuak Ashevak, 2007
© McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives

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