Kenojuak Ashevak Biography

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Kenojuak Ashevak  View Works

Kenojuak Ashevak was born in an igloo in an Inuit camp, Ikirasaq, at the southern coast of Baffin Island. Her father, Ushuakjuk, an Inuit hunter and fur trader, and her mother, Silaqqi, named Kenojuak after Silaqqi’s deceased father. According to this Inuit naming tradition, the love and respect that had been accorded to her during her lifetime would now pass on to their daughter. Kenojuak also had a brother and a sister.

Born: October 3, 1927 at Ikerrasak camp, approximately 150 km east of Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island), Nunavut. Kenojuak began making dolls and beadwork when she was being treated for tuberculosis in Parc Savard Hospital, Quebec City between 1952-1955. Upon her return to Kungia camp in the summer of 1955 she made sealskin and beaded works for sale through Alma Houston’s craft program until about 1956. She also did a few works of sculpture during this time period with the encouragement of James Houston. After moving to Keakto camp in 1957, and after the birth of her fourth child the same year, she began to explore drawing as a medium. In 1958 the first and one of Kenojuak’s best known prints, “Rabbit Eating Seaweed”, was completed at the Cape Dorset printshop from a design on one of her sealskin bags. This print was included in the first annual Cape Dorset Print collection and catalogue in 1959. The artist and her family settled permanently in the community of Kinngait in 1966. Presently living and working in Kinngait Kenojuak continues her prolific pursuit of graphic media, both drawings and prints, in addition to making time for family and travel.

EDUCATION

Honours and Achievements

2001        One of the artist’s prints, “The Enchanted Owl”, 1961 sold for $58,650. CAN in November at Waddington’s Inuit Art Auction in Toronto, ON. This set a new record for the sale of a Canadian print at auction.
2001        Inducted into “Canada’s Walk of Fame”, received a star on King Street West,
Toronto, ON. Artist present for ceremony in Toronto and attended the exhibition opening of “An Inuit Perspective – Baker Lake Sculpture” at the Art Gallery of Ontario during the same trip.
2000        Mayor Mel Lastman presented Pope John Paul II with “Illustrious Owl”, 1999 by Kenojuak Ashevak to commemorate his visit to the Vatican on August 21st, 2000.
1999        On December 16th The Isaacs/Innuit Gallery, Toronto, ON. (formerly The Innuit Gallery of Eskimo Art) held a publishing party for the book “Kenojuak: An Inuit Artist’s Life Story” by Dr. Ansgar Walk. This is the first of three northern books by the German author, based upon his extensive travels in the Canadian Arctic, to be translated into English.
1999        Edition of a 25-cent coin bearing an owl motif by Kenojuak on the occasion of Nunavut’s inauguration as a Canadian territory in 1999.
1995        Received an Aboriginal Achievement Award in Vancouver in March.
1993        A postage stamp featuring Kenojuak’s drawing for “The Owl” 1969 was issued in May, the sixth in the Masterpieces of Canadian Art series.
1992        Honorary Doctorate awarded by the Law Faculty of the University of Toronto.
1991        Received an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University in May.
1982        Appointed a Companion to the Order of Canada in a ceremony held at Rideau Hall, Ottawa on October 19.
1981        “Portfolio III”. Kenojuak was one of three artists whose work appears as a special folio of prints, documented in the annual Cape Dorset print collection and catalogue in 1981.
1981        Mintmark Press. Kenojuak was commissioned to produce a limited edition etching “Myself and I” for inclusion in the book ‘Graphic Masterworks of the Inuit: Kenojuak’; also documented in the annual Cape Dorset print collection and catalogue in 1981.
1980        The 1961 print “Return of the Sun” by Kenojuak was reproduced on a seventeen cent stamp issued September 25, 1980 as part of the Canadian Post Office’s Inuit stamp series.
1980        “Etching Portfolio I”. Kenojuak was one of six artists who assembled a special portfolio of prints which is documented in the annual Cape Dorset print collection and catalogue in 1980.
1980        Theo Waddington Inc, Folio of Lithographs, “Kenojuak Litho Portfolio II”. Published by Waddington Galleries in 1980, this portfolio is documented in the annual Cape Dorset print collection and catalogue in 1981.
1980        Kenojuak travels to Rotterdam for the opening of “The Inuit Print” exhibition.
1979        Theo Waddington commissioned and published a limited edition portfolio of twelve lithographs by Kenojuak.
1978        Commonwealth Games Commission. Kenojuak was commissioned to produce
a stencil print, “Owl with Seagulls” in commemoration of the Commonwealth Games, in Edmonton, AB. This work is documented in the annual Cape Dorset print collection and catalogue in 1979.
1977        Kenojuak attended the preview at the Art Gallery of Ontario of the World Wildlife Fund’s portfolio of six Inuit prints one of which Kenojuak was commissioned to make. The work is documented in the annual Cape Dorset print collection and catalogue in 1978.
1974        Elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
1973        Cape Dorset calendar features graphics by Kenojuak.
1970        Her 1960 print “Enchanted Owl” was reproduced on a stamp commemorating the centennial of the Northwest Territories.
1967        Travelled to Ottawa to receive her appointment to the Order of Canada.
1967        Attended the opening of a solo exhibition of her work at the National Library, Ottawa with her husband Johnniebo. Forty-five prints by Kenojuak and five by Johnniebo are featured in the exhibition.
1967        Kenojuak Engraving Portfolio. This collection of prints commemorates the Centennial year, and is documented in the annual Cape Dorset Print Collection catalogue in 1967.
1962        The National Film Board of Canada produced a film about Kenojuak and her life on the land entitled ‘Eskimo Artist ­ Kenojuak’. Filmed in Cape Dorset this NFB work provides a good view of Kenojuak drawing and the printmaking process in the studio. It is also interesting to note that one of her early sealskin works is visible on her husband Johnniebo’s lap in an early scene in the film.

EXHIBITIONS

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2002        Kenojuak Ashevak: To Make Something Beautiful; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON.
2001        Kenojuak Ashevak; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON.
2000        Kenojuak Ashevak: A Decade of Drawings; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON. (illustrated catalogue)
1996        Evolution: Kenojuak Ashevak Recent Drawings; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON. (illustrated catalogue)
1995        Kenojuak: Original Drawings; Albers Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA.
1994        Kenojuak Ashevak-Recent Drawings; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON.
1990        Kenojuak Drawings; Houston North Gallery, Lunenburg, NS. (brochure)
1988        Kenojuak: Premier Graphic Artist of the Arctic; Arctic Artistry, Hartsdale, NY, USA.
1986        Kenojuak: A Retrospective Exhibition; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario.
1986        Recent Drawings by Kenojuak; The Innuit Gallery of Eskimo Art, Toronto, ON.
1983        Kenojuak:Original Drawings and Mixed Media; Waddington and Shiell Galleries Ltd.,Toronto, ON.
1982        Kenojuak:The Renowned Dorset Artist; Canadiana Galleries, Edmonton, AB.
1980        Kenojuak Lithographs; Waddington Galleries, Montreal, PQ.
1979        Kenojuak; Walter Phillips Gallery, from the collection of Great-West Life Assurance Company, Banff, AB.
1979        Kenojuak Lithographs; Waddington Galleries, Toronto, ON.
1971        Kenojuak Drawings; The Innuit Gallery of Eskimo Art, Toronto, ON.
1967        Kenojuak Prints; National Library, Ottawa, ON.

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2001        Cross-Currents: Cape Dorset in the 1960s; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON.
1999        Dorset Magic: Four Decades of Sculpture from Cape Dorset; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON.
1998        The Ryan Collection; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON.
1997        Old Friends: Graphics from the Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON.
1995-96   Inuit Woman: Life and Legend in Art; Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.
1995        Keeping Our Stories Alive: An Exhibition of the Art and Crafts from Dene and Inuit of Canada; Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Santa Fe, NM, USA.
1994-95   Cape Dorset Revisited; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON.
1994-95   Isumavut: The Artistic Expression of Nine Cape Dorset Women; Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, PQ.
1994        Cape Dorset Revisited – a collection of previously unreleased prints, exhibited at selected commercial galleries, organized by West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Also on exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1994-95,Kleinburg, ON
1994        Kunst van de Inuit Eskimo’s; Gemeentelijk Kunstcentrum, Huis Hellemans, Edegem, Belgium.
1993-94   Contemporary Inuit Drawings; Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA.
1993-94   The Inuit Imagination; Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.
1992-93   Arts from the Arctic; Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, Alaska.
1992        Art Inuit; Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Galerie Montador. Dieppe, France.
1990-91.  Art Inuit: Autour de la Collection de Cape Dorset 1990; at Centre Culturel Canadien, Paris, France
1991-92   In Cape Dorset We Do It This Way: Three Decades of Inuit Printmaking; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON.
1991        Sojourns to Nunavut: Contemporary Inuit Art from Canada at Bunkamura Art Gallery; presented by the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology and The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Tokyo, Japan.
1990        Inuit Drawings; Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver, BC.
1989-91   Flights of Fancy – Kenojuak Ashevak, Lucy Qinnuayuak, Pitaloosie Saila; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON.
1989        Drawings of the 1960s from Cape Dorset; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, ON
1989-02   Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection.
1988-89   Im Schatten der Sonne:Zeitgenossische Kunst der Indianer und Eskimos in Kanada/In the Shadow of the Sun:Contemporary Indian and Inuit Art in Canada; Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, ON.
1988        Exhibition of Original Drawings by Three Inuit Artists from Cape Dorset: Kenojuak Ashevak, Kananginak Pootoogook and Eliyakota Samualie; Gallery Phillip, Don Mills, ON.
1988        The Sculpture of Kenojuak Ashevak & Joanassie Igiu; Feheley Fine Arts Toronto, ON.
1987-89   Contemporary Inuit Drawings; Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, ON.
1987        The Swinton Collection of Inuit Art; Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.
1986        Contemporary Inuit Art; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON.
1986        New Beginnings: a celebration of Native expression at the first Native Business Summit; Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, ON.
1986        From Drawing to Print: Perceptions and Process in Cape Dorset Art; Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB.
1985        Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art; Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.
1984-86   Arctic Vision: Art of the Canadian Inuit; Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Canadian Arctic Producers, Ottawa, ON.
1984        Portfolio ’83; Opening of an exhibition of printed works by twelve Ottawa area artists and “Idea of the North” prints by six members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Ottawa, ON.
1983-85   Grasp Tight the Old Ways: Selections from the Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON.
1983-85   Contemporary Indian and Inuit Art of Canada; Department of Indian Affairs and NorthernDevelopment, Ottawa, presented at the General Assembly Building, United Nations, NYC, USA.
1983        Inuit Masterworks: Selections from the Collection of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada; McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg, ON.
1983        The Arctic/L’Artique; UNESCO, Paris, France.
1982-83   Noel au Chateau – Art inuit de la collection Macdonald Stewart Art Centre; Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, ON and presented at Chateau Dufresne, Montreal, PQ.
1981-83   The Murray and Marguerite Vaughan Inuit Print Collection; Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, NB.
1981-82   Inuit Art: A Selection of Inuit Art from the Collection of the National Museum of Man, Ottawa, ON and the Rothmans Permanent Collection of Inuit Sculpture, Canada; National Museum of Man, Ottawa, ON and Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Ltd., Toronto, ON.
1979-81   Cape Dorset Engravings; Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa, ON.
1979-81   Images of the Inuit: from the Simon Fraser Collection; Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.
1980        Collectors’ Choice – An Exhibition of Important Inuit Sculpture; Waddington Galleries, Toronto, ON.
1979-80   Inuit Art in the 1970s; Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, ON.
1978        Polar Vision: Canadian Eskimo Graphics; Jerusalem Artists’ House Museum Jerusalem, Israel.
1978        Eskimo Art; Embankment Gallery, London, England.
1977-82   The Inuit Print/L’estampe inuit; Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the National Museum of Man, Ottawa, ON.
1976        Les Esquimaux hier…aujourd’hui; Musee d’ethnographie, Neufchatel, Switzerland.
1975-76   Cape Dorset Prints; Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.
1975-79   We Lived by Animals/Nous Vivions des Animaux; Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in cooperation with the Department of External Affairs,Ottawa, ON.
1975        Art/Inuit/Art: The Rothmans Permanent Collection of Eskimo Sculpture; Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Ltd., Toronto, ON.
1974-87   Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection.
1974        Arts of the Eskimo: Prints; Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal, Montreal, PQ.
1974        Sculptures by Kenojuak and Johnniebo; School of Architecture, Nova Scotia Technical College, Halifax, NS.
1973-74   Les Eskimos/De Eskimo’s; Studio 44 – Passage 44, Brussels, Belgium.
1973        The Tactile Eskimo Art Collection/Collection de sculptures esquimaudes appreciables par le toucher; Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, in cooperation with the Canadian, National Institute for the Blind, Ottawa, ON.
1973        Canadian Eskimo Lithographs: Third Collection; Presented under the auspices of the Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of External Affairs Canada, Ottawa, ON.
1972        Eskimo Fantastic Art, Gallery 111, School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.
1971-73   Sculpture/Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic; Canadian Eskimo Arts Council, Ottawa, ON.
1971        Canadian Eskimo Sculpture; Canadian Embassy, Washington, DC, USA.
1970        Graphic Art by Eskimos of Canada: First and Second Collection, Cultural Affairs Division; Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, ON.
1969        Eskimo Drawings Cape Dorset; The Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, ON.
1967        Cape Dorset ­ A Decade of Eskimo Prints & Recent Sculpture; National Gallery of Canada, in cooperation with the Canadian Eskimo Art Committee Ottawa, ON.
1967        The Eskimo Art Collection of the Toronto-Dominion Bank; Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto, ON.
1965        Contemporary Inuit Art at the National Gallery of Canada; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON.
1963        ART ESKIMO; Galerie de France, Paris, France (illustrated catalogue)
1961        Contemporary Canadian Eskimo Art; Gimpel Fils, London, England.
1959-72   Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection.
1977 Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
1975 University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

 COLLECTIONS

Inuit Cultural Institute, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON.
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON.
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, PQ.
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MN.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON.
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, ON.
Department of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa, ON.
Tate Gallery, London, England.
Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB.
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, ON.
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON.
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON.
Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal, Montreal, PQ.
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, NWT.
Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec, Montreal, PQ.
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC.
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB.
Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, Alaska, USA.
Toronto-Dominion Bank Collection, Toronto, ON.
Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre, Sudbury, ON
Museum London, London, ON.
Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, MI, USA.
Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, NB.
Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, ON.
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SN.
University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB.
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, ON.
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, TX, USA
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS.
Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, ON.
Woodstock Public Art Gallery, Woodstock, ON.
Red Deer College, Red Deer and District Museum and Archives, Red Deer, AB.
Mark Osterlin Library, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, MI, USA.
Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, ON.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB Macmillan-Bloedel Limited, Vancouver, BC.
Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, PEI.
Teleglobe Canada, Montreal, PQ.
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
McMaster University Art Gallery, Hamilton, ON Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, BC.
Canadian Catholic Conference Art Collection, Ottawa, ON.
Great-West Life Assurance Company, Winnipeg, MB.
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University, Bristol, RI, USA.
Rothmans Permanent Collection of Eskimo Sculpture, Toronto, ON.
Tom Thomson Memorial Gallery and Museum of Fine Art, Owen Sound, ON.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.
World Wildlife Fund Collection, Switzerland.
Vatican, Vatican City.