SJAC is excited to have the opportunity to host a private collection of incredible prints by some of Canada’s most celebrated Inuit printmakers. Many thanks to local artist Octavio Ribeiro for sharing his collection with the community.
Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013) is regarded as one of the most notable pioneers of modern Inuit art. She is one of Canada’s most acclaimed graphic artists, and her long list of achievements and honours was surpassed only by her stamina and good humour.
Born on south Baffin Island at a camp area known as Ikirisaq, Kenojuak grew up traveling from camp to camp on south Baffin and in Arctic Quebec (Nunavik). As a young woman, she was married to Johnniebo and lived with him in various camps including Keakto, a scenic area seven miles from Cape Dorset. In the late 1950s, both Kenojuak and Johnniebo first experimented with carving and drawing. They moved to Cape Dorset in 1966 in order for their children to attend school, and continued to work closely together until Johnniebo’s death.
In 1961 she was the subject of a film produced by the National Film Board about her traditional life and art. The film is still shown today, and was instrumental in introducing her to the world beyond Cape Dorset. In 1970 her print, ‘Enchanted Owl’ (1960) was reproduced on a stamp commemorating the centennial of the Northwest Territories, and again in 1993 Canada Post selected her drawing entitled ‘The Owl’.
Kenojuak has received many special honours over the years. She is a Companion in the Order of Canada, which she originally received in 1967. In 1992, she was awarded Honourary Degrees from both Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. In 1996 she received the prestigious 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, the first Inuit artist to be so honoured, and joins many other famous and accomplished Canadians.
Kenojuak traveled all over the world as an ambassador for Inuit art. Her style coupled with her willingness to collaborate and her commitment to her calling have ensured her place as Canada’s most celebrated Inuit artist.
Kenojuak passed away on January 2nd, 2013 after a long battle with lung cancer.
Ningiukulu Teevee (name changed in 2017, b: 1963) is a Canadian Inuk writer and artist.
Ningeokuluk Teevee is one of the most versatile and intelligent graphic artists to emerge from the Kinngait (Cape Dorset) Studios. Her unique approach to interpreting traditional legends and stories into her drawings and prints has captivated both the traditional and contemporary Inuit art collector. She is represented in the Dorset Fine Art 2010 print collection with nine images.
Inuit oral tradition is the foundation of much of Ningeokuluk’s work. Inspired by stories and legends told by Mialia Jaw to schoolchildren in Cape Dorset, Ningeokuluk is one of a new generation of Inuit artists who are bringing the tales back to life in graphic form.
Born May 27, 1963, Ningeokuluk 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. In the fall of 2009, Ningeokuluk’s first children’s book was published. Entitled ‘Alego’, it is an autobiographical story of a young girl named Alego who goes clamdigging with her grandmother for the first time and, along the way, discovers all of the wonders of the seashore. The book was short-listed for the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature illustration.
Pudlo Pudlat (1916-1992) was born on February 4th, 1916 at Ilupirlik, a small camp near Amadjuak, about 350 kilometers east of Cape Dorset.
Pudlo was one of Cape Dorset’s most prolific and original artists. He remembered as a child being reprimanded by his parents for drawing on the walls of his family’s snow house so it came as a delightful surprise when as a young man he was encouraged by James Houston and Terry Ryan to pursue his obvious talents as a graphic artist. Pudlo’s early adult drawings and prints often depict strange, beguiling creatures and humorous combinations of fantasy and reality. When acrylic washes were introduced in the studios, Pudlo became an avid devotee to this medium, filling large sheets of paper with wondrous and colourful landscapes.
Pudlo is perhaps best known as one of the first artists in Cape Dorset to portray the transition between the traditional Inuit nomadic lifestyle and modern transportation and other technologies. Recognized in his lifetime as an artist who successfully merged these two worlds with humour, optimism and an urban sensitivity, Pudlo was the first Inuit artist to be honoured with a retrospective of his work at the National Gallery of Canada.
*An unknown artist is represented by one piece; it is guessed to be the work of an artist in Northern Quebec in 1972.
Biographies sourced from Dorset Fine Arts. Visit their website for more information, including an archive of print catalogues and information on printmaking techniques: dorsetfinearts.com