Kenojuak Ashevak (RCA)

Born 3 October 1927 (Baffin Island, Nunavut) – Died January 2013 (Cape Dorset)

Kenojuak Ashevak (Kenoyuak; Kinoajuak; Kenoajuak) is without doubt the best-known artist from Cape Dorset. Her work has brought her recognition from around the world. She is one of the most honoured and famous individuals in the entire inuit art community. Her graphics, based in a personal iconography that features the Arctic owl, are one of the most visible and celebrated images produced in Cape Dorset.

Few Canadian artists have received more honours for their achievements: Kenojuak Ashevak was elected to the prestigious Royal Canadian Academy (RCA), appointed to the Order of Canada (later a Companion) and awarded many honorary doctorates. Three of Kenojuak’s images appeared on Canadian postage stamps, and her 1960 print, The Enchanted Owl, is an icon of Canadian art, appearing in numerous publications and on a Canadian stamp.

Kenojuak has a very distinctive and fresh style. Her dreamlike characters and stylized elements are combined in a cohesive composition. She brought together symmetry, bold shapes, bright colours and fantastic forms.

Ashevak was amongst the first women to participate in the arts projects in Cape Dorset. She contributed to the first release of Inuit prints in 1959. She was in the important “Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic” exhibition (1971-73) that toured the world. Kenojuak Ashevak is still a major force in the art of Cape Dorset (and of the Arctic).

Kenojuak Ashevak’s exhibition record is immense. She has exhibited in Canada, the United States, Japan, Holland, Greenland, South Korea, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, France and Germany.