(1904 – 1983)
One of Canada’s most prolific and celebrated visual artists, the late Pitseolak Ashoona was part of the first generation of artists to embrace the Cape Dorset arts and crafts program established in the late fifties. Pitseolak produced more than 7000 original drawings during her twenty-four year artistic career, many of which were reproduced in the annual Cape Dorset Graphics print release since 1960. She often examined aspects of daily Inuit life in her work, exploring traditional scenes that spoke to life in the north prior to European contact. Her work is often described as authentically and unapologetically Inuit in nature, as she explores the roots of her culture as it had existed for thousands of years.
In 1974, she was accepted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and awarded the Order of Canada in 1977 for her contributions to art in Canada. Throughout the years, Pitseolak continued to experiment with new media and styles, although printmaking would continue to be her primary passion. Pitseolak is survived by her children and grandchildren, many of whom have since become successful artists.