A Tribute to an Important Canadian Artist
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection wishes to acknowledge with sadness the recent passing of notable Canadian artist, Kenojuak Ashevak.
Kenojuak Ashevak is perhaps the best-known Inuit artist for her iconic birds and especially her print The Enchanted Owl. The first woman to become involved with the newly established printmaking shop at Cape Dorset, Kenojuak began drawing in the late 1950s. Over the years, her original drawings have inspired about 200 prints. Her art is characterized by a strong sense of composition, colour, design and draughtsmanship. Although best known as a graphic artist, she was also a printmaker, sculptor, painter and seamstress.
During her lifetime, Kenojuak received many awards and honours including the Companion of the Order of Canada (1982) and member in the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1974). She was featured in a National Film Board film in 1962 and in a limited-edition book published in 1981. Her artwork has been reproduced on Canadian postage stamps and a coin. She was the recipient of a Lifetime National Aboriginal Achievement Award and two honourary doctorates, and was an inductee into Canada’s Walk of Fame. She was awarded a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2008. As a participant in many exhibitions, Kenojuak travelled extensively to southern Canada (including Kleinburg) and Europe.
Kenojuak had a long history with the McMichael gallery. In 1986, the McMichael organized the first retrospective of her work, curated by Jean Blodgett and covering 30 years. The artist was present for the opening. Her drawings, prints and sculpture have been exhibited in group and solo shows at the gallery since that time. The Cape Dorset Archival Collection on loan to the MCAC from the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative includes over 2,000 drawings and 300 prints by Kenojuak. In 2007, the gallery was honoured to celebrate Kenojuak’s 80th birthday while she was artist-in-residence for the “Celebrate Inuit Art” festival. Her final visit to the McMichael was in 2009 with fellow Cape Dorset artists, Kananginak Pootoogook, Shuvinai Ashoona and Ningeokuluk Teevee.
Memorial tribute to Kenojuak Ashevak
On Saturday, February 16, a memorial talk was held at the McMichael to pay tribute to Ashevak who passed away on January 8, 2013.
"There is no word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal. I am an owl, and I am a happy owl. I like to make people happy and everything happy. I am the light of happiness and I am a dancing owl."
(Landmarks of Canadian Art by Peter Mellen; McLelland & Stewart, 1978)
Traditional Stories: Unikkaaqtuat/Modern Stories: Unikkaat
Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth
Kenojuak: From Drawing to Print
Stones, Bones and Stitches
KINNGAIT - Highlights from the Collection
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