Innuk with Birds
Jessie Oonark
19¾" x 25¾"

Innuk with Birds (1974)
Jessie Oonark (1906 - 1985)

Stonecut, #6/50
19¾" x 25¾"


Jessie (Una) Oonark was born near the Haningayok (Back River), Nunavut in 1906 and was named after her paternal grandfather, Una.  She was a prolific and influential Inuit artist of the Utkuhihalingmiut.

 She pursued traditional tasks, such as processing and sewing caribou and sealskin to produce clothing. The aesthetic qualities of this work would later influence her depiction of Inuit life in drawings and tapestries. She employed bright colours in her depiction of humans, spirits and animals, creating vibrant works that draw the viewer in through pictorial storytelling. The knife used by women, the ulu, their traditional skin clothing, the kamik, the amauti were recurring themes in her work. Oonark has had a major museum retrospective with accompanying scholarly monograph.Despite a late start – she was 54 years old when her work was first published – she was an active and prolific artist over the next 19 years, creating a body of work that won critical acclaim and made her one of Canada's best known Inuit artists.

After an abundant career, Oonark passed away in 1985.