Pioneering Inuit artist honoured with Canadian ‘heritage minute’

VIDEO: The new Heritage Minute that came out this week. 

Her name was Kenojuak Ashevak.

A founding member of the Kinngait Studios of Cape Dorset (West Baffin Eskimo Co-op), she travelled to Europe and Japan promoting Inuit art and artists.

Her story has now been recreated by Historica Canada in one of its “heritage minutes”, a the 85th in the series of short video vignettes on important moments and people in Canadian history.

Kenojuak Ashevak is renowned worldwide for her works of art, and for her role in bringing Inuit art to the forefront,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada in a news release.  “We’re delighted to now bring Canadians the personal story of an artist of such achievement.”

Ashevak was born in 1927 in a Inuit camp on Baffin Island. She experienced the transition from traditional Inuit nomadic lifestyle, to establishment of settlements and her own move into the community of  Cape Dorset in 1966. By that time, her work had already begun to be recognized as something new, unique and exciting. Indeed she is considered to have spurred and inspired the modern Inuit art movement.

In 1963, she was the subject of a National Film Board documentary called “Eskimo Artist: Kenojuak, and has been named Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967, Companion in 1982, and the Order of Nunavut in 2012.

She died in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, in January 2013 at the age of 85.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian museum gets $15 million for Inuit Art Centre, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  London gallery offers multimedia Sámi art, Yle News

Greenland: Canadian artist explores Greenland’s past, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Karelian art on show in Russia, Yle News

Sweden:  Swedish Sámi visual artist shaping climate changes, Radio Sweden

United States:  Feature Interview – Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin, Eye on the Arctic





Marc Montgomery, Radio Canada International

With a passion for anything antique with an engine, and for Canadian and world history, Marc comes with a wealth of media experience. After DJ work at private radio in southern Ontario, and with experience in Canadian Forces radio and tv in Europe, the state broadcaster in Austria (Radio 3), and the CBC in Ottawa and Montreal, he was the host of the immensely popular CBC and RCI show, "The Link". He is now part of the new RCI online team producing stories from and about Canada from coast to coast.

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