The Enchanted Owl
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Kenojuak Ashevak’s drawings and prints feature fantastical creatures and bold colors and forms. This captivating image of an arctic owl was among the first prints produced by the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative. It quickly became a Canadian icon, and in 1970 the print was chosen for the country’s commemorative stamp.
Stone cut on paper
Sheet: 21 1/8 x 26 in. (53.7 x 66 cm) (show scale)
Lower right, vertical: Cape Dorset printer’s mark
Signed, lower right in graphite: "Kenojuak"
Inscribed across lower edge, from left to right in graphite: "The Enchanted Owl. Stone Cut 2/50. Cape Dorset Baffin Island 1960. Kenojuak"
Gift of George Klauber
© Kenojuak Ashevak, courtesy of Dorset Fine Arts
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Kenojuak Ashevak (Inuit, 1927-2013). The Enchanted Owl, 1960. Stone cut on paper, Sheet: 21 1/8 x 26 in. (53.7 x 66 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of George Klauber, 1998.122. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.122_PS1.jpg)
overall, 1998.122_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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Kenojuak Ashevak's drawings, prints and sculpture express her understanding of the world through unique imagery. Her early work is filled with images of camp life, people, animals, and for what Kenojuak is renowned: fantastical birds that reveal her ability to capture the essence of her subjects in simple forms. Kenojuak is among the first Kinngait women to have her drawings included in the Cape Dorset Print Collection. This captivating image of an arctic bird quickly became a Canadian icon, and in 1970 the print was chosen for their commemorative stamp. This is seemingly her most popular print, exemplifying her graphic style of simplifying her subject to maximize its unique form in a strong composition and use of vivid color.
Kenojuak was first encouraged to draw by James Houston, the Federal Government administrator for the Baffin Island area. Houston is credited with raising public awareness of Inuit art and encouraging the Inuit to control their own production of prints. Kenojuak's owl drawing was among the first prints produced by the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in 1960. Over the years Kenojuak Ashevak has received many honors, among these the Order of Canada and a Lifetime Aboriginal Achievement Award. She lives in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) and continues creating her drawings and prints, fantastic explorations of form, design and color.
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