Jessie Oonark is one of the most iconic Inuit artists of the twentieth century. Her strong, bold and colourful compositions that have delighted generations found their expression in various media, including drawings, prints and wall-hangings.

Like many of her contemporaries, Oonark and her family left their traditional life on the land to move into the settlement of Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) in the late 1950s. Her talent was immediately recognized and a succession of art advisors in Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) provided materials and encouragement. She began drawing, creating strong symmetrical compositions peopled by figures in traditional clothing, animals and birds and stylized versions of traditional tools and implements. Her strong, symmetrical style translated perfectly into textile art as she began to create exquisite appliqués and embroidered wall-hangings. Her talent, devotion and hard work were important to the development of the graphic arts programme in Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake). In addition to her inclusion in annual Baker Lake Print Collections, three of her prints were released through the Cape Dorset Studio in 1960 and 1961.

For more detailed information, please contact Feheley Fine Arts

1986 – 1988 Jessie Oonark: A Retrospective
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, MB

1971 Oonark Drawings
Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec
Montreal, QC

1971 Oonark Wallhangings
National Arts Centre
Ottawa, ON

1995 – 1996 Qiviuq: A Legend in Art
Carleton University Art Gallery
Ottawa, ON

1995 Inuit Imagination: Art and Culture of Canadian Eskimos
Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
Verona, Italy

1993 – 1994 Contemporary Inuit Drawings
Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary – Williamsburg, VA

1993 Women Who Draw: 30 Years of Graphic Art from the Canadian Arctic
Feheley Fine Arts,Toronto, ON

1993 Northern Lights: Inuit Textile Art from the Canadian Arctic
Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore, MD

1992 Qamamittuaq: Where the River Widens
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre
Guelph, ON

1991 Sojourns to Nunavut: Contemporary Inuit Art from Canada
Bunkamura Art Gallery
Tokyo, Japan

1988 – 1989 In the Shadow of the Sun: Contemporary Indian and Inuit Art in Canada
Canadian Museum of History
Ottawa, ON

1987 – 1989 Contemporary Inuit Drawings
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre
Guelph, ON

1986 Jessie Oonark: A Retrospective
Winnipeg Art Gallery,
Winnipeg, MB

1983 – 1985 Grasp Tight the Old Ways: Selections from the Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art
Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, ON

1981 Eskimo Games / Giuochi Eschimesi
National Gallery of Modern Art
Rome, Italy

1980 Inuit Art in the 1970s
Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Kingston, ON

1978 The Coming and Going of the Shaman
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, MB

1977 – 1982 The Inuit Print / L’estampe inuit
National Museum of Man
Ottawa, ON

1977 Kayaks and Umiaks
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, ON

1977 Kayaks and Umiaks
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, ON

1976 The People Within: Art from Baker Lake
Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, ON

1971 Eskimo Art in Poetry and Pictures
Junior Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY

1970 Oonark/Pangnark
National Arts Centre
Ottawa, ON

Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, TX
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Gallery of Windsor
Art Gallery of York University, Ontario
Beaverbrook Art Gallery, New Brunswick
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa,ON
Canadian Catholic Conference Art Collection,Ottawa, ON
Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec, Montréal, QC
Canadian Museum of History
Churchill Community Centre, Manitoba
Clifford E. Lee Collection, University of Alberta
Collection of His Holiness John Paul II, Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Collection of the Supreme Patriarch of All Armenia, His Holiness, Catholicos Vazken I
Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College,Traverse City, MI
Edmonton Art Gallery. Alberta
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University – Bristol, RI
Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery,Kitchener, ON
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre,Guelph, ON
McMaster University Art Gallery,Hamilton, ON
McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK
Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia
National Arts Centre, Ottawa, ON
National Gallery of Canada
New Brunswick Museum Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University,Sackville, NB
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre,Yellowknife, NT
Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University,Burnaby, BC
University of Alberta,Edmonton, AB
University of Lethbridge Art Gallery,Lethbridge, AB
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, AB
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB
1986 Retrospective Exhibition with publication held at Winnipeg Art Gallery.

1984 Recipient of a Women’s Caucus for Art Award in Toronto.

1977 Travelled to Charlottetown, P.E.I. to attend a conference of the Canadian Crafts Council, during which Oonark was made an honorary member.

1976 In Ottawa to attend the presentation of the Sunday Missal of the Roman Catholic Church, which contains an illustration by Oonark. Missal published by the Canadian Catholic Council of Bishops.

1976 Created an original design for first day cover and cachet print (edition of 1,000) for a United Nations stamp honouring the Habitat Conference in Vancouver; travelled to New York and autographed covers. Original drawing purchased by National Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.

1975 Elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

1973 Commissioned to make a wall hanging for the lobby of the National Art Centre, Ottawa.

1973 A wall hanging made by Oonark was presented to H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth on behalf of the Inuit of the Northwest Territories.

1972 Illustrated “I Breathed a New Song”, an anthology of Inuit Poetry edited by Richard Lewis.

1969 Large applique wall hanging originally presented to the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly, now a permanent feature of the Assembly’s Chamber in Yellowknife.

1965 Participated in an experimental graphics workshop in Baker Lake (uncatalogued and unpublished)


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