The answer to our August Guess-the-Artist Contest question "which of these late great Nunavut artists inspired the theme of the 2013 Nunavut Arts Festival Enchanted Owl" was the late Kenojuak Ashevak.
Kenojuak Ashevak is one of Canada’s most acclaimed graphic artists. She was born in 1927 at a camp known as Ikirisaq. She grew up travelling from camp to camp and married Jonniebo, with whom she had several children. While they were living in Keato in the late 50’s, both of them started experimenting with carving and drawing. They moved to Cape Dorset in 1966 so their children could attend school. Her drawings were immediately captivating and she has been represented in almost every annual art collection since 1960. In 1993, Canada Post selected her drawing entitled “The Owl” to be reproduced on their .86 cent stamp. April 1st, 1999 marked the official inception of the new Territory of Nunavut in Canada’s Arctic. To commemorate this historic event, Dorset Fine Arts released a special edition of 99 prints by Kenojuak — a large diptych entitled Siilavut, Nunavut.
Kenojuak has received many special honours over the years. She became a Companion in the Order of Canada in 1967 and of the Order of Nunavut in 2012. She has been awarded Honourary Degrees from both Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. In 1996 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Ceremony in Vancouver. In the spring of 2001, Kenojuak was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and received the Governor General’s Award in 2008. Kenojuak travelled all over the world as an ambassador for Inuit art.
The world lost one of the most important Inuit artists when she passed away on January 8 2013. She will be forever remembered as one of Nunavut's greatest treasures and the memory of her radiant personality will continue to live on through her art. Having lived a full and humble life, she leaves the world with an incredible legacy: distinctive, vibrant and always beautiful works that redefined the meaning of Inuit art. She also leaves us with a lifetime of art-making that
will continue to inspire future generations of artists to keep making art that is both strong and honest.
Congratulations to Elena Akpalialuk from Pangnirtung, NU for being the winner of the August Guess-the-Artist Contest!
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