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First Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award goes to Williamson Bathory

Iqaluit's Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory has been named the winner of the inaugural Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award.

Multi-disciplinary artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory of Iqaluit is the first winner of the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award through the Inuit Art Foundation.
photo courtesy of Ellen Hamilton

Presented by the Inuit Art Foundation in Toronto on June 13, the award comes with $10,000 biennially to assist the chosen artist with a residency of her choice.

Williamson Bathory is widely known for her Greenlandic mask dance as well as for acting, drum-dancing, music, writing and curating. She is artistic director for Qaggiavuut Society, a group she helped form. Qaggiavuut is fundraising for a Nunavut performing arts centre.

The award was created in honour of Kenojuak Ashevak, a Cape Dorset graphic artist known worldwide for her animal prints. She lived from 1927 to 2013, gaining extensive acclaim, including honorary doctorates from Queens University and the University of Toronto. Her work was commissioned for many prestigious occasions and her home community has memorialized her through a cultural centre and print shop, which will open later this year.

"Kenojuak Ashevak really opened new realms of imagination and new realms that allowed people to see themselves and show themselves at the same time," Williamson Bathory stated in a news release. "And, it is overwhelming for to me to think her spirit is touching mine so closely, or being near to mine. I am so grateful and very humbled to be in this huge spirit of art."