The winner of the 2023 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award will be named at 8pm local time on September 22 at a ceremony in Winnipeg.
This year’s shortlisted artists are: Billy Gauthier from Newfoundland and Labrador; Maureen Gruben from the Northwest Territories; Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona from Ottawa; Kablusiak, an artist living in Calgary; and Ningiukulu Teevee from Nunavut.
The announcement will be made at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq museum in Manitoba.
The winner of this year’s award will will receive $20,000, as well as a solo exhibition at the museum and a residency. The museum will also acquire one of the winner’s works into the WAG’s permanent collection.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Inuit Art Foundation on the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award and expand on its offerings with a $20,000 grand prize, solo exhibition for the winner, catalogue, residency, and to acquire an artwork into our permanent collection,” Stephen Borys, the museum’s director & CEO, said in emailed comment from (WAG)-Qaumajuq.
“This partnership confirms future collaboration that will support Inuit artists working across all media and contribute to a strong future for Inuit art.”
Award named for trailblazing artist
Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013) is a renowned Inuk artist who lived most of her life in Cape Dorset in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. Her iconic images depicting Arctic animals and wildlife garnered her a worldwide reputation.
The biennial Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award was established in 2014 as a way to recognize and boost the visibility of mid-career Inuk artists.
The award is funded by donors and judged by an all-Inuit jury.
The shortlisted artists all receive $5,000 and had their work featured in a special exhibition at the WAG-Qaumajuq museum in Winnipeg. The exhibition, titled Anaanatta Unikkaangit (Our Mother’s Stories), was described by the museum as honouring “… the stories, the work, and the care of mothers and grandmothers—like Kenojuak Ashevak—that guide contemporary Inuit art.”
“These five artists represent what is so exciting about contemporary Inuit art: though their practices are varied, they each have clear connections to their communities and they push forward what is possible for Inuit artists,” said Heather Igloliorte, president of the Inuit Art Foundation, in emailed comment from WAG-Qaumajuq.
The exhibition of the 2021 award winner, Tarralik Duffy, opened at (WAG)-Qaumajuq earlier this month.
Titled Gasoline Rainbows, the show features Duffy’s work known for its humour and pop culture references.
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