“Jessie Oonark was born in the area of northern Canada known as the Barren Lands, north and west of the present-day village of Baker Lake, Northwest Territories, where she settled in the late 1950s. Her childhood and young adulthood were spent in the traditional pursuits of an Inuit woman: dressing caribou and sealskins, and making parkas and other items of traditional clothing. Oonark began her career as a graphic artist in 1959, when a Canadian biologist working in Baker Lake gave her art supplies. Her talent was immediately recognized, and she was soon making drawings for sale. A selection of Oonark’s drawings were sent from Baker Lake to Cape Dorset, the only Inuit settlement issuing prints at the time…. She was the only outsider ever included in the Cape Dorset print program.
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