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Published on Nov 27, 2013
Kenojuak Ashevak (October 3, 1927 -- January 8, 2013) was born in an igloo in an Inuit camp, Ikirasaq (Quebec) Canada, at the southern coast of Baffin Island. Her father, Ushuakjuk, an Inuit hunter and fur trader, and her mother, Silaqqi, named Kenojuak after Silaqqi's deceased father. According to the Inuit naming tradition, the love and respect that had been accorded to him during his lifetime would now pass on to their daughter.
Kenojuak became known for her distinctive and lyrical work in printmaking. Her work drew upon familiar subjects in her environment such as birds and other animals, as well as images of Inuit women, but her fantastical compositions are also powerful statements of beauty and design. Her masterful use of silhouette, patterning, and abstract designs may have been influenced by her experience in sewing traditional clothing, which involves creating designs with piecework, in addition to other Inuit art practices such as scrimshaw. She also became one of the first Inuit women in Cape Dorset to begin drawing. She worked in graphite, colored pencils and felt-tip pens, and occasionally used poster paints, watercolors or acrylics. She created many carvings from soapstone and thousands of drawings, etchings, and stone-cut prints — all sought after by museums and collectors. She designed several drawings for Canadian stamps and coins, and in 2004 she created the first Inuit-designed stained-glass window for the John Bell Chapel in Oakville, Ontario.