• News

Tarralik Duffy wins 2021 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award

Sep 08, 2021
by IAQ

The Inuit Art Foundation (IAF) is thrilled to announce that multimedia artist Tarralik Duffy has won the 2021 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award, the IAF’s biennial prize celebrating established mid-career Inuit artists.

Duffy, who lives in Saskatoon, SK, was named winner of the $10,000 award at a virtual ceremony hosted on September 8 by the IAF’s Board President, Dr. Heather Igloliorte. The event was opened by Elder Asenath Kannutaq and featured a performance by Juno Award–winning musicians Silla and Rise. 

“To win this award in [Kenojuak Ashevak’s] name means the world to me,” said Duffy about the win. “I hope I am able to honour her in the work I do.”

Originally from Salliq (Coral Harbour), NU, Duffy’s work traverses across many disciplines, from jewellery making to drawing, but all draw on her perspectives of the world as an Inuk artist. She is known for incorporating playful humour and a pop sensibility into her art. Duffy was featured on the cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly’s Winter 2018 issue, Exchange, and her work will appear later this year in an upcoming solo show of new drawings at the Art Gallery of Guelph in Ontario and in the group show Atautchikun | wȃhkôtamowin at Remai Modern  in Saskatoon, SK.

In addition to the $10,000 prize money, Duffy will be the first winner of the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award to receive a solo exhibition, exhibition catalogue and residency at the WAG-Qaumajuq in Winnipeg, MB, thanks to a new partnership between the art museum and the IAF. The WAG-Qaumajuq will also acquire one of Duffy’s works into its permanent collection. Duffy’s solo exhibition is scheduled for fall 2023, when the next Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award winner will be announced.

WAG-Qaumajuq Director and CEO Stephen Borys said in a statement: "We are so pleased to partner with the Inuit Art Foundation on supporting contemporary Inuit artistic practice through the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award. With the opening of Qaumajuq, the WAG has renewed its longstanding commitment to supporting Inuit artists working across media. and this partnership is an exciting way to contribute to the future development of Inuit art. We are looking forward to showcasing the incredible talent of Inuit artists, and honouring the incomparable legacy of Kenojuak Ashevak, for years to come. Congratulations to Tarralik Duffy and all the shortlisted artists!"

Founded by the IAF, the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award honours the legacy of Kenojuak Ashevak, CC, ON, RCA, and her tremendous impact on generations of Inuit artists. “Over a decade ago I remember being so moved by Kenojuak's work I was brought to tears,” says Duffy about Ashevak’s impact on her own work. “Her art is so alive, so powerful, I wanted to touch what she touched.” 

For the first time, a shortlist of three additional artists was also selected, each of whom will also receive $3,000 to support their practices. The 2021 shortlisted artists are Eldred Allen, Kablusiak and Couzyn van Heuvelen. The finalists and winner were selected by an all-Inuit jury comprising independent curator and writer Jocelyn Piirainen, journalist Ossie Michelin and artist and curator Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, who won the inaugural award in 2018.

In a statement, Bathory praised Duffy saying, “There is a secret recipe for those who not only participate, but also create in ways that make Inuit wonder. I don't dare dabble with the recipe as it belongs to these artists themselves, but I suspect it has something to do with intergenerational love, the ability to look both from within and outside our culture, the need for both solitude and connection and a deep sense of intelligent humour. This is Tarralik. Long may she awe us.”

Learn more about Duffy

Learn More About the Award


Suggested Reads

Related Artists