The internationally renowned Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak passed away on January 8th, 2013. Pat Feheley, a good friend of the artist, hosted a memorial service to commemorate the anniversary of her passing.
Kenojuak Ashevak’s signature style and bold, colourful artwork was well-awarded; she was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1967, elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1974, and received the Governor General’s Award in 2008. Additionally, three of her prints (‘Enchanted Owl,’ ‘Return of the Sun’, and ‘The Owl’) were replicated on Canadian stamps. However, the artist was arguably most famous for over fifty years of contributions to the Cape Dorset Print Collection, ultimately culminating with seven works in the 2013 Print Release.
The gallery was decorated with an assortment of drawings and prints from throughout her career. The works on display included ‘Serpentine Wolf,’ one of her prints from the latest Cape Dorset Print Release, and an unfinished large-scale drawing that she was working on before she passed.
The memorial had an incredible turnout as friends and family flew down from Cape Dorset to attend, thanks to their friends Barry Appleton, Marnie Schreiber and John Price. In attendance were Kenojuak’s children, Adamie and Silaqqi Ashevak, daughter-in-law Ooloosie, niece and nephew, Mary and Dennis, and friends, Jimmy and Pitseo Manning.
During the ceremony, speeches were given by the Inuit Art Foundation‘s Jimmy Manning and Pat Feheley, as well as the artist’s daughter Silaqqi Ashevak. Quotes from printer Qavavau Manumie, Kenojuak’s artist nephew Tim Pitsiulak, and John Price were also read during the ceremony.
Christine Lalonde and Will Huffman from the Inuit Art Foundation announced the establishment of the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Fund. This bi-annual scholarship will commence in 2015 to grant an Inuit artist a residency, supporting the development of Inuit arts and culture. For more information on this exciting initiative, pay a visit to the Inuit Art Foundation Website.