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Remembering Kenojuak Ashevak

Curator: Dale Sheppard

The late Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013) is perhaps the best-known Inuit artist for her iconic birds and especially her stone-cut, The Enchanted Owl (1960). Not only was this work published in an early catalogue of Inuit art but it was also used as the design for a 1970 Canadian postage stamp to commemorate the Centennial of the Northwest Territories. 

Kenojuak was born in 1927 in Ikarasak near Cape Dorset on Baffin Island. She became the first woman to become involved with the newly established printmaking shop at Cape Dorset. Her art is characterized by a strong sense of composition, colour, and draughtsmanship. On view are six prints by Kenojuak that comprise an important part of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s permanent collection. These prints exemplify the artist’s bold sense of design incorporating purposeful line and shape in thematic compositions which are filled with movement, rhythm and spirit. This exhibition is a celebration of a renowned modern artist whose work is grounded in the rich tradition of Inuit history and culture. 

Kenojuak Ashevak will always be remembered as a remarkable Canadian pioneer of contemporary Inuit art. She has left a prolific collection of works - sculptures, drawings, and prints, many of which are etched into the Canadian cultural memory.