Kenojuak Cultural Centre

  • On September 8, 2018, the Kenojuak Cultural Centre officially opened in Kinngait, Cape Dorset.

    Photo: William Huffman

  • The facility provides much-needed space for local artists as well as for the display of artifacts. The inaugural exhibition is a survey of works on paper by the renowned artist Kenojuak Ashevak.

    Photo: William Huffman

  • Many people from the local community of Cape Dorset were present for the inaugural opening events of this new facility devoted to the arts.

    Photo: Alison Boyce

  • During the opening ceremony, David Joanasie, Member of Nunavut Legislative Assembly South Baffin, spoke on behalf of the Government of Nunavut about the importance of preserving the unique culture of the region.

    Photo: Alison Boyce

  • Ooloosie et Adamie Ashevak, along with members of the Ashevak family, officially opened the Kenojuak Cultural Centre with the symbolic cutting of a traditional bearded seal skin rope.

    Photo: Alison Boyce

  • The Kenojuak Cultural Centre is now a world class studio and workspace for the current and next generation of artists.

    Photo: William Huffman

  • The flags representing the Government of Canada, Government of Nunavut, Municipality of Cape Dorset and West Baffin Eskimo Co Operative were raised by Marcel Cooper, William Sandoval, and William Huffmann during the opening ceremony for the Centre on September 8, 2018.

    Photo: Alison Boyce

BY THE NUMBERS

The original Cape Dorset Print Shop opened in 1959

The Cape Dorset community of 1,000 people provides a home to a growing group of artists and carvers

The new Centre opened its doors in September 2018

With an overall area of 10,440 square feet, the revamped Kenojuak Centre is a fully integrated cultural and artistic hub

A Hub of Artistic Expression for the North

Artists in the Canadian North will soon have a new centre to call home, named after legendary Inuit artist Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013). Kenojuak was born in Ikirasuk, Nunavut, near Cape Dorset, and grew up on the land in the traditional style with her grandparents and her husband Johnniebo.

In 1958, James Houston, an artist and art connoisseur who spent considerable time in the North, started to petition Inuit people in and around Cape Dorset to consider telling of their experiences through art. It was an artistic birth for people like Kenojuak, Kananginak, Pootoogook, Lyola Kingwatsiaq and Lukta Qiatsuq.

Extraordinary Art from a Unique Community

Cape Dorset is located on a small island off the western arm of Baffin Island, about 400 kilometers west of Iqaluit. It has been a gathering place for the Inuit for centuries; it is now known by its Inuit name Kinngait, or High Mountain.

For more than 50 years, Cape Dorset has produced artists skilled in the graphic arts and carving that has consistently captured the interest and patronage of the international art community. The Kenojuak Cultural Centre is one of the most important homes of artistic expression in the region and is new home to the venerable Kinngait Studios.

Since the 1950s, the studios have produced works that have captured the imagination of art aficionados worldwide. While the achievement of the artists have shown consistent excellency, the former studios complex was demonstrating the effects of time and weren’t able to accommodate the growing needs of the Cape Dorset artist community. The Kenojuak Cultural Centre Capital Campaign responded to the urgent need to create a modern production infrastructure and cultural centre that facilitates, enhances and protects the works of this unique artistic community.

Community Gathering Space

The Kenojuak Cultural Centre serves as a community hub and gathering space. The facility can accommodate a range of activities for the local community and visitors with programs for the artists, elder and youth. It will encourage intergenerational cultural transfer of stories and legends, traditional ways and intricacies of the carving and drawing techniques for which the community is famous.

The Centre also provides space to celebrate the art of the North in its many forms. There is both a permanent and a temporary exhibit spaces, an exterior terrace, visitor centre with a retail area and, of course, ample studio space specially designed for artists to draw, paint and sculpt, as well as share their techniques with others. The Centre will be a focal point for the sharing of diverse cultures as visitors and Inuit learn about each other.

On the economic side, the Centre will act as a catalyst for the growth of businesses that serve the tourist industry and provide job opportunities for community members.

“The art of the people of the North is nothing short of astounding,” says Paul Desmarais III, Senior Vice-President of Power Corporation and Chairman of the fundraising campaign for the Kenojuak Cultural Centre. “This is more than simply supporting Inuit art and culture. With close to one in four people in the community earning a living with art making, this is about building economic and community capacity in the Arctic.”

The art of the people of the North is nothing short of astounding. This is more than simply supporting Inuit art and culture. With close to one in four people in the community earning a living with art making, this is about building economic and community capacity in the Arctic.
Paul Desmarais III
Senior Vice-President
Power Corporation and
Chairman of the fundraising campaign
for the Kenojuak Cultural Centre

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