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Blodgett, Jean.

Toronto, Firefly Books, c1985. 252pp, cloth, $49.95, ISBN 0-920668-31-3. CIP

Grades 4 and up
Reviewed by J.E. Simpson

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

One of the most popular, and certainly one of the most graphically effective postage stamps in Canadian history, is the six-cent 1970 issue bearing an arresting image in red and black entitled "The Enchanted Owl." Kenojuak is a biographical and critical treatment of the immensely talented Inuit artist who created it, as well as hundreds of other images that rank among the most gravely majestic ever produced in this country. A new edition of the critically-acclaimed 1981 edition by Mintmark Press that sold for over $2,000, Kenojuak is an important addition to Canadian art literature. Not only does it present the fullest record of the work of an Inuit artist, it also illustrates in compelling detail the evolution of a unique style.

Jean Blodgett's text is crisp, well-annotated, and informative. It commences with a brief, often moving autobiography of Kenojuak that establishes her as a person of uncommon courage and discrimination. Further chapters are devoted to the content and the composition of her art; they are particularly helpful to an appreciation of the pages that form the bulk of the book, over 160, all in colour, of every print Kenojuak produced from 1959 to 1980. As the images proceed with virtual hypnotic force, it becomes apparent that in formal and imaginative terms alone, one is in the presence of remarkable ability. Moreover, the images reinforce each other, and sharply indicate the central importance of spatial values in Kenojuak's work. She is an artist in the great tradition.

J.E. Simpson, Edmonton Public Schools, Edmonton, Alta.
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