Cultural Background: Inuit from Ikirasaq, southern coast of Baffin Island.
Like many Inuit artists, Kenojuak Ashevak has spent most of her life living on the land in a manner not unlike that of her ancestors. She was born at the south Baffin Island camp of Ikirisaq, and grew up travelling from camp to camp in Canada’s Eastern Arctic.
Kenojuak first began experimenting with drawing and stone carving in the late 1950s. Her early work appeared in the Cape Dorset Annual Graphics Collections, launching a career that would include numerous national and international commissions, special projects and exhibitions. Her life and art have been the subject of a film produced by the National Film Board of Canada, and a book entitled “Graphic Arts of the Inuit: Kenojuak”, published in 1981.
Kenojuak Ashevak has been accorded many honours for her achievements. She received the Order of Canada in 1967, and was subsequently elevated to Companion of the Order. In 1993, Kenojuak was awarded Honourary Degrees from both Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. She passed away in 2013 at the age of 85.
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