Category Archives: Kenoujouak Ashevak

… thoughts for the new year, 2016

Maybe you’ve had enough resolutions for today.  But if you’re up to one more challenging idea, read on……

Something is wrong, I know it, if I don’t keep my attention on eternity. May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful.
.………………………
Attention is the beginning of devotion.

Mary Oliver, Upstream in Blue Iris

Vigilant Owl by Kenojuak Ashevak 2007

Vigilant Owl by Kenojuak Ashevak 2007

We can count on poets to challenge us. Mary Oliver is no exception. The beauty in her work consistently surprises me, and leads me to think more …realistically. Her ‘big’ ideas are grounded in the world around us, particularly the natural world.

Wishing you, and our world, a  year of awareness, usefulness and peace.

 

 

In Memoriam Ted Harrison 1926-2015

Ted Harrison was one of Canada’s best known artists.  Just like Kenoujouak Ashevak, though, his images are probably better known than his name.

Along with printmaker Michael De Courcy, he created over 80 limited edition serigraphs (silkscreen prints) that depicted northern and western Canada.


He is probably best known for his children’s books.  In his tribute to Ted Harrison, Robert Amos quotes Ted’s business manager, “Ted doesn’t need any promotion.  Every school child in this country knows him.”

His artworks worked well as illustrations for children’s books.  His stylized landscapes suited the storybook genre.  As well as books of his own, he colourfully illustrated the two Robert Service poems, The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee, which was named a Best Book by the New York Times.

51GkwhnV09L

Winchester Galleries has a magnificent Harrison painting, Realms of Gold, currently on display…..and for sale.  (It was still available the last time I checked!)

Realms of Gold by Ted Harrison

In 2009 at Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, B.C. Ted Harrison said, “So my artistic life is just painting what the devil I like, and I usually start by drawing the lines–and they’re usually curved, which I got, I think, from the Maori.  All their designs are curved lines.  So I drew curvilinear lines and put colour in them.
……………
So you could say my artistic life is just a waffle and a wiggle, but it’s all imaginary.”

…and speaking of Kenojuak Ashevak…..

….most Canadians wouldn’t recognize her name, but many would be familiar with some of her artworks, especially the iconic The Enchanted Owl,  which was featured on a Canada Post stamp.

Kenojuak Ashevak was the first Inuit woman to make art at the Cape Dorset Print Shop.  She began to sell her prints at the annual Cape Dorset print release in 1959.

John Feeney produced a National Film Board of Canada film about her in 1963. It’s a lovely film, with glimpses into her life, and the process of printing from stone cuts. (It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1964.)

She received international recognition when she participated in the World’s Fair in Osada in 1970. She was prolific, and eventually worked in various forms of printmaking, as well as drawing and sculpture.

Kenojuak Ashevak  became a role model for other indigenous artists.  She received numerous awards in her lifetime, including the Order of Canada, and the Governor General’s Award for Visual Art.

She was born in an igloo on Baffin Island in 1927, and died on January 7, 2013 in Cape Dorset.  She left an amazing legacy.

 

Speaking of Winnipeg……

……the Nunavut Gallery is not to be missed.  It’s in an unassuming building which is, I suspect, too often overlooked.  (I confess I only visited  recently.)

Richard Kroeker and the Nunavut Gallery

This gallery is like a kiwi fruit.  It’s dull on the outside, and bursting with visual delights on the inside.  Richard Kroeker has collected a treasure trove of Inuit art.  The space is bursting with sculpture (polar bear sculpture, anyone?), prints, drawings and wall hangings.

There is so much good work in this gallery that I’ll warn you now–don’t go unless you’re prepared to be awed and amazed…..and have plenty of time.  The collection of work is extensive (I barely scratched the surface of the prints) and Richard has a wealth of information he is more than willing to share.

All the ‘stars’ of Inuit print art are represented here: Jessie Oonark, Pudlo Pudlat, Simon Tookoome, Luke Anguhadluq and, joy of joys! the grande dame, Kenojuak Ashevak.

Kenojuak Ashevak

A final warning:  The quality of the artwork, and the ridiculously low prices may cause you to buy an artwork…..or three.

….from Bonavista to Vancouver Island……

….from the Arctic Circle, to the Great Lake waters……Happy Birthday Canada!

 

…from David Blackwood to Emily Carr……from Kenoujouak Ashevak to Lawren Harris…..

 

 

…..from Mary Pratt to B.C. Binning …..from Daphne Odjig to Walter Philips.….

 

 

There’s lots to celebrate.  (I could go on, and on…..but it’s time to go outside and play!)  Happy Canada Day.