Pitseolak Ashoona considered for recognition on new $5 bank note

Pitseolak Ashoona considered for recognition on new $5 bank note

 In Blog

Inuk-Canadian artist, Pitseolak Ashoona, is one of eight people considered for recognition on a new $5 Canadian bank note. Ashoona, who was born on-the-land on Nottingham Island in the Hudson Straights, was one of the first recognized Inuit artists in Cape Dorset, now Kinngait. She settled in Kinngait in the early 1960s and had 17 children, several of whom also became artists.

A prolific artist, Ashoona made close to 9,000 drawings during her 20 years in Kinngait. Her prints have appeared in every annual print collection since her work was first published in 1960.

During her career, Pitseolak was awarded several honours and accolades. In 1971 the National Film Board produced a film based on her book, “Pitseolak: Pictures out of my life”.  In 1974 she was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and she received the Order of Canada in 1977.

Pitseolak died in 1983 and is buried behind the Anglican Church in Kinngait.  Her impressive body of work now resides on long term loan at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection where it is being photographed, documented, and exhibited.

More on the $5 bank note

This recognition is the result of a broad public consultation process launched in late January 2020. The Bank of Canada initiated this process with an open call for nominations inviting Canadians to suggest who they would like to see on the next $5 note.

Nearly 45,000 people answered the call, resulting in more than 600 eligible nominees. The nominees were then reviewed by an independent Advisory Council appointed by the Bank.

Informed by public opinion and historical research, and after careful deliberations characterized by open dialogue and a wide range of perspectives and experiences, the Advisory Council finalized their short list. They believe this list emphasizes diverse and important contributions to our shared history.

The eight shortlisted candidates are:

  • Pitseolak Ashoona
  • Robertine Barry (“Françoise”)
  • Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow)
  • Won Alexander Cumyow
  • Terry Fox
  • Lotta Hitschmanova
  • Isapo-muxika (Crowfoot)
  • Onondeyoh (Frederick Ogilvie Loft)

The selected candidate is expected to be announced in early 2021, following the final decision by the Minister of Finance. The bank note design process will then begin, the note is expected to begin circulating in a few years.

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