Heritage Minute filming in Nunavut to feature Kenojuak Ashevak

Kenojuak Ashevak's legacy will live forever through her art. Now, the late Canadian icon will also have her own Heritage Minute.

Heritage Minute will be the first to be translated in Inuktitut

Kenojuak Ashevak was born on South Baffin Island in 1927. Ashevak is considered a pioneer of Inuit art.

Kenojuak Ashevak's legacy will live forever through her art. Now, the late Canadian icon will also have her own Heritage Minute.

Filmmakers with Historica Canada are in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, this weekend filming the 60-second spot, which is set to air next year.

"She's one of Canada's best-known artists, in Canada and around the world," said Nicki Thomas, a program coordinator with Historica Canada.

While the filmmakers are tight-lipped on exactly what elements will go into the film, this will be the first Heritage Minute to be translated into Inuktitut. Normally the short stories are narrated in English and French but this one will be in Ashevak's mother tongue.

It's not the first Heritage Minute to depict Inuit culture — Inuksuk also had Inuktitut dialogue among the characters. Ashevak's will be the first to be filmed in Canada's North in 20 years.

"The fact that she had areas she visited just outside of Cape Dorset, was really important for us to film in its authenticity," said producer Ryan Noth. 

"We're pretty sure she was really influenced by the landscape and the lifestyle she led, specifically in Cape Dorset."

Ashevak's family members will also be characters in the film.

"Either nieces or nephews, and we've involved her children, just letting them know about the Minute," said Tess Girard, the film's director. "We're actually going out for dinner with some of them. So we've tried very hard to keep it within the degree of the family."

Ashevak is considered a pioneer of Inuit art. Her most famous print, Enchanted Owl, was reportedly worth more than $60,000 a decade ago, and many of her drawings have been featured on Canadian stamps.

The National Gallery of Canada owns about 50 of her works, including the original Enchanted Owl.

Ashevak died at her home in Cape Dorset in 2013.


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