Kenojuak Ashevak at English Harbour Arts Centre

Kenojuak Ashevak’s art is renowned for its iconic imagery. In Canada, the Inuit artist’s home country, Ashevak’s stylized prints featuring birds, fish, humans, and other animals are perhaps most widely recognized for their presence on postage stamps and currency. But Ashevak’s intense and imaginative visual language originates in larger-scale drawings, as well as soapstone carvings and textiles, that exemplify the incredible skill and creativity of the modern Inuit art movement based out of Kinngait—formerly Cape Dorset—that the artist helped found.

“Kenojuak Ashevak: Life and Legacy,” a traveling exhibition, features thirty-four works—drawings, stone-cut prints, and a lithograph—from the mid-1990s through the 2010s, reflecting the evolution of the artist’s vision. Significantly, the show was organized by the West Baffin Cooperative, with which Ashevak was closely involved. In most cases, after being developed into prints, Ashevak’s drawings were immediately archived by the cooperative, meaning that this presentation is the first time many of the images that inspired her famous prints have been publicly exhibited.

There is a mesmerizing quality to the pieces on display—the vivid hues and layered colored-pencil strokes depicting scales of the titular specimen in Iqalutsiavak (Beautiful Fish), 2002, and feathers of the Spectacular Ravens, 2000, exemplify Ashevak’s close connection to the arctic landscape while highlighting her nuanced draftsmanship. Known for representing individual animals in empty backgrounds without context or narrative, the artist’s stark compositions and boldly graphic outlines conjure nature’s intrinsic mise en abyme, with each work simultaneously centering the viewer’s attention on the lone subject and its wider symbolic and species permutations. Later compositions that feature folkloric groupings—as in the symmetrically entwined ravens, gulls, and fish in Owl’s Consort, 2009, and the fox, fish, wolves, and birds in Six-Part Harmony, 2008—reflect the refinement of Ashevak’s signature whimsical approach and reverence for her subjects. Witnessing previously unseen art partially lit by sunlight in this ruggedly beautiful rural outpost compounds the works’ mystical gravitas.

Stay in the Loop

Get the daily email from CryptoNews that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Join our mailing list to stay in the loop to stay informed, for free.

Latest stories

- Advertisement - spot_img

You might also like...