Kenojuak Askevak, a once-nomadic artist from Canada's Arctic region whose prints and drawings help introduce Inuit art to much of the world, died on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at her home in Cape Dorset on West Baffin Island in Nunavut. She was 85.
Much loved and well respected, Kenojuak continues to add to her long list of accomplishments as she explores some of her favorite themes as part of Inunoo’s first artistic collection of printed silk scarves and ties. Her captivating drawings have been incorporated in the scarf pattern “Enchanted Bird”and tie pattern “Strutting Birds”. A woman of many talents and honours in her lifetime, Kenojuak continues to excite us with her art.
“In addition to graphics, Kenojuak has worked as a sculptor over the years. "When I'm doing graphic work, sometimes I have to hold the paper and look at it and feel it, and then the work starts to come out," she explains. "It's easier to do the carvings because you can see the shape three dimensionally before it's formed. ... But I prefer to work on drawings; the stone can be hard, and you have to be outside carving."
Kenojuak is the recipient of two honorary doctorates and is the subject of several books and a film. She is a Companion of the Order of Canada, recipient of a Lifetime Aboriginal Achievement Award, and has a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame. In 2004 Kenojuak became the first Inuit artist ever to create imagery for a stained glass window, in a commission for the Chapel of Appleby College in Oakville, coordinated by Feheley Fine Arts. In 2008 she received the renowned $25,000 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts from the Canada Council of the Arts.
Kananginak Pootoogook has been involved with drawing and printmaking since the late 1950’s when the West Baffin Co-operative first initiated the graphic art program in Cape Dorset. He was instrumental in the formation of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative and served for many years as President of its Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts.
Kananginak’s work represents Arctic life, often-monumental in scale. His drawing for Inunoo’s scarf pattern “Fisher Woman” was selected as an image that illustrated the material cultural of the Inuit, camping and hunting scenes. The composition beyond the original drawing comes from the printed fabric used in the woman’s parka. The influence of the Hudson Bay store on Inuit life. Kananginak died on Tuesday,November 23, 2010 in Ottawa from complications from surgery for lung cancer,
In early 1982, Nordair adopted a Northern look for the cabin interior of its aircraft with a new upholstery fabric. It features the design “Arctic Silhouettes”, created by Aoudla Pudlat, a young artist from Cape Dorset, Nunavut and silk screen printed on washable wool fabric by Mantegna Inc.
Inunoo has chosen Aoudla’s skillfully drawn birds with their whimsical character and stylish plumes as part of its scarf and tie collection. Aoudla died in the summer of 2006 while traveling on his skidoo with a friend crossing the ice floats.
Ningiukulu, born May 27, 1963, is the daughter of Joanasie Salomonie (deceased) and his wife Kanajuk. Her father, Joanasie, was a community leader and much loved in Cape Dorset for his sense of humour, mischief and compassion. Ningiukulu now devotes her full time to her family and to her drawing, which she does at home.
Ninguikulu is steadily emerging as a versatile and intelligent graphic artist. She is becoming more prolific as her experience and confidence grow, and is comfortable with both traditional and more contemporary themes and approaches.
She has a graphic style of drawing that relates to textiles like no other Inuit artist. Inunoo has chosen several of her works for scarves and now hand woven carpets.
“Nightly Churring” is a new pleated scarf in three colour-ways. “Ptarmigan” and"Inukshuk" designs are a series of 6, "One of a Kind" hand tufted carpets . Her new carpet design "Arctic Cotton" is currently for sale.
Shuvinai Ashoona, born in 1961, began to draw in 1995. While never formally trained in graphic arts,Shuvinai Ashoona's drawings flip between closely observed naturalism and visions of the fantastical, monstrous, and strange. A third-generation Cape Dorset artist, Ashoona is descended from creative royalty: her grandmother was the acclaimed graphic artist Pitseolak Ashoona, and the sculptor Kiawak Ashoona was her father. Her cousin Annie Pootoogook is much admired in southern Canada for her unsentimental drawings of contemporary Inuit life. Still, Shuvinai stands distinct from them all, bestowing an eerie or unsettling mood upon even her most quotidian subjects.
These include obsessively worked landscapes in which Inuit families camp, hunt, and fish among barren expanses of pebbles, stones, and rocks; detailed townscapes where Inuit adults and children work and play amid prefab buildings; and canvas tents with wooden doors scavenged from shipping crates.
Napachie Pootoogook was born in 1938 at Sako, a small camp on south Baffin Island. She died in December, 2002, of cancer. Napachie was the only daughter of the late Pitseolak Ashoona.
Napatchie began drawing in the late 1950s. Since 1960 her work has been included in almost every annual collection of Cape Dorset prints. Napatchie and her husband moved into Cape Dorset in 1965, where they have continued to live, except for a two-year stay in Iqaluit in the early 1970s.
Napachies' work in recent years has focused on local history and stories about people and events in the Cape Dorset area, often with accompanying text to explain the circumstances. She thought of herself in her maturing years as an historian and chronicler of local oral history, and she has amassed a unique and important body of work. A selection of these contemporary drawings, along with a retrospective of her earlier work was exhibited and catalogued by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in their 1999 exhibitionThree Women, Three Generations. This exhibition also featured the work of her mother, Pitseolak Ashoona, and her niece, Suvinai Ashoona. A solo exhibition of her later autobiographical works opened in May, 2004 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.