Oonark, OC, RCA

Credit: © Inuit Art Foundation
Oonark, OC, RCA


drawing, printmaking, textile

Artistic Community:

Qamani'tuaq (Baker Lake), NU

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.


Date of Death:

Artists may have multiple dates of death listed as a result of when and where they passed away. Similar to date of birth, an artist may have passed away outside of a community centre or in another community resulting in different dates being recorded.




Jessie (Una) Oonark, OC, RCA, was born near Back River, Nunavut. Oonark lived the first fifty years of her life in camps throughout the region before settling in Qamani'tuaq (Baker Lake), NU with her children in the 1950s. Towards the end of that decade, she began making drawings which quickly caught the attention of members of both the Qamani'tuaq and Kinngait (Cape Dorset) art communities. A few short years after beginning her artistic career, several of Oonark’s drawings were included in the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collections of 1960 and 1961, followed by many prints in the Baker Lake Print Collection. In total, more than 120 of Oonark's images would be produced as limited edition prints. In addition to drawing, Oonark produced many vibrant wall hangings, identifiable for their colourful and symmetrical compositions. Oonark was elected as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1975 and was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1984. Her work is widely celebrated and is part of the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, ON, the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Manitoba and many others.View Long Biography and Citations


View All Publications and Details
Title Year Author
INUA Catalogue 2021
9 Records Broken at Inuit Art Auction December 3, 2020
Art, Gods, and ATVs: Baker Lake’s Jessie Oonark December 30, 2019 Richard D. Mohr


View All Exhibitions and Details
Name Year Gallery
Shifting Geographies September 19 - October 26, 2019 University of Alberta Museums
Jessie Oonark's Artworks: Very much alive Dec 19, 2018 - May 12, 2019 La Guilde
Temporal Re-Imaginings Nov 2015 - Apr 2016 Âjagemô Gallery, Canada Council for the Arts


View All Achievements and Details
Achievement Year Organization
Cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly Fall 2017 Inuit Art Foundation
Cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly Summer 1994 Inuit Art Foundation
Cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly Summer 1988 Inuit Art Foundation

Public Collections

View All Public Collections
Collection Location
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University Kingston, ON, Canada
Amon Carter Museum of American Art Fort Worth, TX, United States
Art Gallery of Alberta Edmonton, AB, Canada

Edit History

January 29, 2018 Updated by: Rebecca Gray
September 12, 2017 Created by: Inuit Art Foundation