Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013)

Artist, printmaker and crafter, Kenojuak Ashevak is the Innuit artist famous for her ‘Enchanted Owl’ print which was featured on a Canadian stamp in the 1970s.

Born in an Inuit camp on South Baffin Island where she lived the traditional life of semi-nomadic Innuit hunters living in igloos and skin tents. She was introduced to art while in hospital for tuberculosis in Quebec City and developed what she learned upon her return home to Cape Dorset.

Though her work often featured bird-like creatures, she also depicted life in the Innuit community with drawings of other artists at work, Innuit hunters, and life in Northern Canada.

Ashevak’s art inspired the federal government to feature ore Innuit art on Canada’s currency in the 1970s. Although best known as a graphic artist, she also carved, designed blankets and (with her late husband Johnniebo Ashevak) created a mural for the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan. In 2004, Ashevak designed a stained glass window for the chapel of Appleby College in OakvilleOntario. The window has an owl gazing out at viewers, feathers fanning out beside it, and an Arctic char swimming beneath, all of it suffused in a deep blue. The window was dedicated to Rt. Rev. Andrew Atagotaaluk, Bishop of the Arctic.

Ashevak was awarded the Governor General Award in Visual and Media Arts and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada for her artistic endeavours.

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