From the Archives: “Kenojuak: An Eskimo Artist” (NFB Documentary Short by John Feeney, 1963)

Many are the thoughts
that rush over me,
like the wings of birds
out of darkness.
What are thoughts?
Are they like songs,
which just come with breadth
and are gone again.

- from “Kenojuak”

I find myself returning to this film as a compelling example of philosophy and introspection, the artistic process, and the resilience of the human spirit.  Kenojuak: An Eskimo Artist was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1964.  One of several works by the filmmaker John Feeney, the film is a lasting tribute to the early foundations of the printmaking art co-operative in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.  Kenojuak Ashevak (here and here) went on to receive numerous awards for her work, including appointment to the Order of Canada, honorary degrees (from Queen’s University and the University of Toronto), special exhibits at the National Gallery of Canada, and more.  John Feeney made up to 10 films for the National Film Board of Canada, many focusing on the arctic and the Inuit.  You can view Kenojuak: An Eskimo Artist (runtime 19:49 min) in full on the NFB/ONF website.

View film on-line (NFB/ONF Website)

Other films by John Feeney:

  • NFB/ONF Website: “The Living Stone” (by John Feeney, 1958).  Runtime 34:14 min.

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