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Table of Contents
Pitseolak Ashoona was an Inuit Canadian artist. She created unique drawings and prints depicting her life and experience living in the North. Her unique work has helped illustrate the unique rouge terrain of the North as well as the social traditions and customs of the Inuit people who reside there.
See the fact file below for more information on the Pitseolak Ashoona or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Pitseolak Ashoona worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Pitseolak had a challenging upbringing. She lived off of the land with her family in harsh Northern conditions.
- Although her life was full of struggles and hardships, her artistic work always depicted positive and meaningful images.
- Pitseolak was born inside a skin tent on Nottingham Island, located in the Northwest Territories (Canada).
- Although the exact date of her birth was not recorded, it is believed that she was born between 1904 and 1908.
- At the time of her birth, Pitseolak and her parents Ottochie (father) and Timungiak (mother) were migrating to Baffin Island, an island located in the Canadian territory of Nunavut.
- By the time Pitseolak was six years old, she had traveled thousands of kilometers through the rough and remote northern terrain. Her family traveled in order to follow the migration of
- Much of Pitseolak’s artwork later in life was inspired by her travels through the arctic with her family.
- When Pitseolak was a child, her father would trap fur for the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC).
- When Pitseolak’s father passed away in 1922, Pitseolak was immediately planned to marry a man named Ashoona.
- Ashoona was a strong hunter who led himself and Pitseolak through many remote northern camps.
- While married, Ashoona and Pitseolak had seventeen children. Six of them lived with Pitseolak into adulthood. The others were adopted into other Inuit households as was customary.
- In the 1920s and 1930s, Pitseolak’s life revolved around raising her children. She would often stay up until late at night, hand sewing parkas out of caribou skin for her family.
- In the mid 1940s, Pitseolak’s husband Ashoona died of an illness while the family was living at a camp called Netsilik in Nunavut, Canada.
- Ashoona’s death meant that Pitseolak and her family could no longer live a life of travel and instead remained in one community.
- Pitseolak noted that although this was a difficult adjustment at first, it was this switch to living in a permanent location which enabled her to be able to create her artwork.
- Following Ashoona’s death, Pitseolak and her children moved to live with relatives in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
- Upon arrival, Pitseolak learned that her relatives in Cape Dorset were no longer alive. For many years, Pitseolak and her children resided with other members of the Inuit community.
- As Pitseolak’s sons grew older and stronger, they began to hunt and financially support the family.
- Pitseolak’s art career began in the 1940s when the Canadian government created an initiative to help support Inuit people who were moving from remote locations into grouped communities.
- In this initiative, the government gave money grants to Inuit arts and crafts businesses. Pitseolak began by sewing Inuit clothing garments for an Inuit clothing business sponsored by the Canadian government. This business is called the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative.
- Pitseolak noticed that other Inuit people were creating and being paid for Inuit drawings and paintings.
- Pitseolak began teaching herself how to draw using a variety of different types of pencils.
- Pitseolak’s creations depicted images of her experience and love for the northern climate and landscapes. Her artwork offers a look at the unique life and social structure of Inuit people.
- Pitseolak began to sell her drawings at the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative. Her work was quickly recognized in Canada’s national collection of Inuit prints, the Cape Dorset Print Collection.
- By the 1970s, Pitseolak had perfected her drawing technique and style with graphite and colored pencils.
- In 1970, Pitseolak worked with an author called Dorothy Harley Eber to write her biography. The pair created a book called “Pictures Out of My Life”. This book recorded biographical descriptions of Pisteolak’s life alongside some of her drawings and prints.
LATER LIFE & LEGACY
- Pitseolak’s biography “Pictures Out of My Life” was published in both English and Inuktitut symbols. It is one of the few historical biographies that contain thoughts and feelings about the life of an Inuit artist in the early 20th century.
- The National Film Board of Canada went on to create a film about Pitseolak called “Pictures of My Life” in 1973. Pitseolak attended the original screening in Ottawa, Ontario.
- Pitseolak was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1974. Two years later, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Canada partnered with the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative to commission an exhibition of her art.
- The exhibition, entitled “Pitseolak”, featured approximately one hundred drawings by Pitseolak from 1962-1974. The exhibition was held across Canada and the United States.
- In 1977, Pitseolak was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada for her work in Canadian visual arts and heritage. This is the second highest honour in the list of merit systems in Canada.
- Pitseolak continued to create art up until her death in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on May 28, 1983.
Pitseolak Ashoona Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Pitseolak Ashoona across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pitseolak Ashoona worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Pitseolak Ashoona who was an Inuit Canadian artist. She created unique drawings and prints depicting her life and experience living in the North. Her unique work has helped illustrate the unique rouge terrain of the North as well as the social traditions and customs of the Inuit people who reside there.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Pitseolak Ashoona Facts
- Five Words
- Staying Positive
- Word Scramble
- Arctic Crossword
- See, Think, Wonder
- Pitseolak Timeline
- Sequence of Events
- Northern Wordsearch
- Myth to Fact
- Traveling Diagram
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Link will appear as Pitseolak Ashoona Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 3, 2021
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