The Enchanted Owl

Kenojuak Ashevak

The Enchanted Owl

1960
I like to make people happy and everything happy. I am the light of happiness and I am a dancing owl.”
Kenojuak Ashevak

Fantastical. Striking. Wise. The Enchanted Owl catches the eye with its gentle face, intelligent gaze and long whimsical feathers. Kenojuak Ashevak created it in 1960. Known for her highly stylized drawing and prints of Arctic wildlife. Today this striking bird can be seen at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop in Kinngait (Cape Dorset).

A portrait of the artist Kenojuak Ashevak.
Kenojuak Ashevak, circa 1960
An illustration of an owl looking forward.

With crisp confident lines and fluid shapes, The Enchanted Owl stands out amongst the surrounding white space like an emblem. It was originally printed in both red and black, and in green and black.

Originally printed in both red and black, and in green and black.

The owl was a favourite subject of Kenojuak. In her career, she imagined the clever creature in 100 different prints. Still, this is the only print of hers that hung in her home. In 1970, Canada Post chose it, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Northwest Territories.

Printmaking had a profound impact on Ashevak and on the Kinngait (Cape Dorset) community (Cape Dorset) where she practised.

What do you see first?

Lean in. Look closer. Get to know the art with your eyes and then ask questions, lots of them. Even artwork created years ago can have real meaning today. It’s time to decode.

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