Introducing our new ‘Have You Heard Of…?’ series by Trudi Murray
There are so many humans out there doing interesting and thoughtful things who we don’t hear very much about. In her new illustration project, Folksy artist Trudi Murray hopes to help rectify that by exploring the life stories of female artists, rebels, scientists and activists from history who you might not have come across before. To accompany her illustrated series, we’re delighted that Trudi will be highlighting one inspiring woman from history each week here on the Folksy blog.
To kick off the series, we asked Trudi to introduce herself and her project…
“I’m a quiet sort of person. Give me a book and a biscuit over a crowded party, any day. Or a walk in the park with a friend, exchanging notes on real life and swapping stories. Stories are what I love, and I’ve discovered that we can learn so much from just hearing other people’s tales of hard work, talent and grit – the inspiration of hurdles overcome and dreams realised. My new project, Have You Heard Of..? sets out to find and illustrate lives of people who we might never heard of before: artists, rebels, scientists, activists. There are so many people out there we could learn about! “
Let’s make a start!
Have you Heard Of…
Kenojuak Ashevak – An Instinctive Artist
Kenojuak Ashevak was born in an Inuit camp, into the traditional Arctic way of life, in Baffin island, Canada, in 1927.
Kenojuak’s family hunted and followed the seasons, as was the way of things for her nomadic community. As a young woman, Kenojuak learned craft techniques and beadwork. A local government administrator, James Houston, had the idea that the instinctively artistic Inuit could develop an income stream from the sale of prints of their original artwork.
Kenojuak was persuaded to have a go at drawing on paper. The results were stunning. Kenojuak, with a gentle and quietly confident eye, produced highly stylised, colourful and bold drawings of her environment and the Arctic birds and animals that surrounded her. Her imagination and playfulness were all there in her drawings too. James opened up a print workshop, which transferred her drawings, and others, on to stone blocks to produce prints to sell. His hunch had been correct. The beautiful prints, sold to the South, were an instant success.
Kenojuak’s work soon grew in fame and renown. She seemed to have an instinctive sense of form and a confidence of line that artists the world over would envy. She didn’t use an eraser; her pictures took shape in her imagination and she simply put them on the paper. Her drawings were made into Canadian stamps and coins and Kenojuak won many awards for her work.
From a quiet life of nomadic tradition to a calendar of travel and awards! Have you ever heard of such a change?! I don’t know what Kenojuak Ashevak thought of it all, but from my research she seemed to be a very level, measured and confident person. I expect she took it all in her stride, with the same grace and ease with which she, happily for us, took wonderful pictures out of her mind, and put them into the world.
You can buy a pack of 10 postcards featuring all the amazing women in Trudi’s Have You Heard of Series here >
For sources, and further reading, see Trudi’s website at www.trudimurray.com