Art At Home LIVE | Kenojuak Ashevak

Wed Aug 26 1:30 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013)
Loons Protect the Owl, 2002
stencil, stonecut on tissue
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Longstaffe
Photo: Vancouver Art Gallery

From Real to Unreal: Kenojuak Ashevak’s Animals

Wednesday, August 26 | 1:30 PM


Let’s make Art At Home!

Experience the power of storytelling through art, and discover a new activity that you can try with your family at home!

In this session of Art At Home Live, Family Programs Coordinator Christina Jones will tell us the story of the incredible life of Kenojuak Ashevak, the first internationally known artist of Inuit descent.

According to Ashevak, in her culture, “[t]here is no word for art. We say it is to transfer something from the real to the unreal. I am an owl, and I am a happy owl. I like to make people happy and everything happy. I am the light of happiness and I am a dancing owl.”

Ashevak’s work reflects her imagination and memories of the animals, humans and spirits of her surrounding environment. For Ashevak, “Drawing out of your imagination is a lot better to me anyway. What you see in your head, is what you try to put in drawing.” See Ashevak’s works on view now at the Gallery in the exhibitions lineages and land bases and The Tin Man Was a Dreamer: Allegories, Poetics and Performances of Power.

Join us for Art At Home LIVE to talk about ways that Ashevak celebrates her Inuit worldview and connections to the animals of her home in a way that she says is “not really coming from the animal but from how I feel.”

Don’t forget your pencils and paper! Throughout this session we will consider ways that we can express the joy, happiness and celebration of animals that we love through sketching challenges that can be used to develop your own drawings that transfer the real to the unreal.

SEE IT FIRST! Can’t attend on August 26? Become a Gallery Member to take part in a special session offered exclusively to members FIRST on Wednesday, August 19 at 1:30 PM. Join now »

Get involved! Submit questions as a family during the Zoom presentation using the Q&A function. You can also engage with your fellow attendees and host during the event using the Chat function.

New to Zoom? Learn how to register and attend a webinar here »


Born in 1927 in Ikirisaq on the south coast of Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island), Kenojuak Ashevak (1927–2013) was raised in a traditional hunting lifestyle, travelling from camp to camp on the south end of Qikiqtaaluk and in Nunavik (Arctic Québec). One of the original members of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, now known as Kinngait Studios, Ashevak and her husband, Johnniebo, began experimenting with the graphic arts in 1959.

Ashevak’s work reflects her imagination and her memories of the camps her family travelled to, portraying animals, humans and spirits of her surrounding environment. Ashevak described her artistic practice as a way for her to financially support her family; however, what became an international career also made her an ambassador of an Inuit worldview deeply entangled in ideas of the Arctic landscape.


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Ji Ping Bai

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