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untitled by Kenojuak Ashevak

Kenojuak Ashevak (Inuit, b. 1927), untitled
ca. 1990–2000
Paper, graphite, ink
50 l x 66 cm
Gift of R.E. Mansfield

Kenojuak Ashevak became known as early as the late 1950s for her distinctive and lyrical work in printmaking, introduced to the Inuit in the Cape Dorset region by James Houston, a Canadian Northern Service Officer and Civil Administrator, as part of an economic initiative. Kenjouak’s work drew upon familiar subjects in her environment such as birds and other animals, as well as images of Inuit women, but her spare and fantastical compositions are also powerful statements of beauty and design. Her masterful use of silhouette, patterning, and abstract designs may have been influenced by her experience sewing traditional clothing, which involves creating designs with piecework, in addition to other Inuit art practices such as scrimshaw.

—Kathleen Ash-Milby (Navajo), NMAI

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