Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Today I Draw, Tomorrow I Jig

"I do not really consider myself a drawer, or an artist . . . I would say, well yes, I draw and I sculpt, and I do applique, embroidery and needlepoint . . . Tomorrow I want to go out and go jigging [ice-fishing] . . . Being able to do embroidery and being able to go out on the land and all those other things are not secondary to being an artist." -- Kenojuak Ashevak, 1980.

Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak was born on this day in 1927 at Ikkerask, Baffin Island, Canada.

When she was 19, Kenojuak's parents arranged for her to marry Johnniebeo, an Inuit hunter. She initially resisted the marriage, throwing rocks at him whenever he came near; but eventually, the couple worked out their differences, and Johnniebeo became an artist in his own right, occasionally assisted Kenojuak on her larger pieces. Together they had two daughters and a son.

Kenojuak began her career as an artist while recuperating from tuberculosis in a hospital in Quebec during the 1950s. She was the first woman of the Cape Dorset area to be recognized for her drawing and painting, which mainly centered on boldly stylized graphic depictions of wildlife, emphasizing formal experimentation rather than any strict documentation of Inuit culture. She was among the first to be honored with the Order of Canada (1967) and was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy (1974). In 1999, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a twenty-five cent piece that featured Kenojuak's "Red Owl" on one side, with her initials in Inuktitut; it marked the first time that the language had ever appeared on Canadian currency.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 1990 $100 coin was actually the the first time that Inuktitut had ever appeared on Canadian currency.

Just so you know.

11:58 PM  

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