Kenojuak Ashevak was one of Canada’s most acclaimed graphic artists. Born on south Baffin Island at a camp area known as Ikirisaq, Ashevak grew up travelling from camp to camp on south Baffin and in Arctic Quebec (Nunavik). As a young woman, she was married to Johnniebo and lived with him in various camps, including Keakto, a scenic area seven miles from Cape Dorset. While still living at Keakto in the late 1950s, both Ashevak and Johnniebo first experimented with carving and drawing. They moved to Cape Dorset in 1966 in order for their children to attend school and continued to work closely together until Johnniebo's death.
Ashevak’s drawings were immediately captivating, and she was represented in almost every annual print collection from 1959 onwards. Her work has also been included in numerous special projects and commissions. In 1961, she was the subject of a film produced by the National Film Board about her traditional life and art, and in 1967, she received the Order of Canada. In 1970, her print, Enchanted Owl (1960), was reproduced on a stamp commemorating the centennial of the Northwest Territories, and again in 1993 Canada Post selected her drawing entitled The Owl to be reproduced on their $0.86 cent stamp.
Ashevak travelled all over the world as an ambassador for Inuit art, visiting cities, such as Osaka, Japan, Rotterdam, Holland, and Seoul, South Korea, to attend openings and present artworks. In 1992, Ashevak was awarded Honourary Degrees from both Queen's University and the University of Toronto. In 1996, she received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Ceremony in Vancouver. In the spring of 2001, Kenojuak was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame, and travelled with her daughter, Silaqi, to attend the ceremonies in Toronto. She is the first Inuit artist to be so honoured, and joined many other famous and accomplished Canadians. In 2008, she added the Governor General’s Award for excellence in the visual arts to her list of honours. In January 2013, after a long and illustrious career, Kenojuak died peacefully at home.