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Kenojuak Ashevak.

Kenojuak Ashevak and Pepita Viajera.

Get to know Inuit art with this great artist.

“When it all seems over, right there, that’s the beginning…”


Kenojuak Ashevak, is the artist born from what seemed to be her final…

She is the pioneer of Inuit art and the most notable of its artists with an absolutely hard and incredible life story.

He was born in an igloo, in a camp in the south of Baffin Island. Her soul of humble and luminous essence, always accompanied her in each of her creations.

The enchanted owl
Inuit art exhibit.

The spirituality of her father, a hunter and fur trader who was the shaman of his people and had a deep spiritual belief influenced the artist beyond imagination. His father was murdered. Little Kenojuak was six years old… Here her life would start a journey between the harshness of reality and the beauty of art…

Kenojuak and her family moved in with her maternal grandmother… She was the one who would teach the little artist traditional crafts, including the repair of sealskins for trade.

Kenojuak Ashevak

At the age of 19, her mother and stepfather pushed her to marry a local Inuit hunter… At first, Kenojuak was very reluctant about this relationship.

As a result of living together, they came to love each other and together they developed their most artistic side… Her husband collaborated in some projects with her.

Together, towards the end of the 1950s, they began experimenting with stone carving and drawing.

A drama with its own name, tuberculosis, would arrive in the life of the couple… They had 11 children together.

Seven children died.

A very difficult life.

Diagnosed with the same disease, she was hospitalized against her will.

He stayed for more than three years, from the beginning of 1952 until the summer of 1955. She had just given birth when she was forcibly transferred. The baby was adopted by a neighboring family.

Three of her children died while she was in the hospital.

In the midst of all this dramatic landscape, art came to her in the form of salvation. During her hospital stay, she learned to make dolls and other crafts that caught the attention of James Archibald Houston, an arts promoter. In 1958, his first print, Rabbit Eating Seaweed, became a highly acclaimed work.

Kenojuak worked with graphite, colored pencils and painted with watercolors or acrylics.

As a result of a documentary on Eskimo art by the National Film Board, the fame of this painter began to grow.

He worked in carving, drew and portrayed animals, humans and spirits of his environment.

“The Enchanted Owl” (1960), one of his earliest and best known works, depicts an owl looking out at the viewer. The texture of the body is created through black and white dots and lines. In 1970, “The Enchanted Owl” was reproduced on a Canada Post stamp. Ashevak was the first Inuk to have her artwork on a stamp. “The Enchanted Owl” is just the beginning of his vast and diverse output.

Her extensive travel schedule placed her in the position of cultural ambassador and role model for women.

“This is my work and my love. I can’t imagine life without art.”

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