Kavavaow Mannomee


b. 1958

Kavavaow was born in Brandon, Manitoba in 1958 where his mother, Paunichea, was hospitalized for treatment of tuberculosis. He returned to Cape Dorset as a very young child and has lived there since.

Kavavaow has demonstrated a range of stylistic abilities over the years — from the very literal to the more expressive. His thematic concerns include depictions of Inuit legends and mythology, Arctic wildlife and an interest in some of the more contemporary aspects of Inuit life. He has a penchant for placing his human characters in bizarre and challenging situations. But Kavavaow's work is never without humour and imagination and these might still save the day.

His images range from exquisitely crafted wildlife pieces to social commentary works that address such concerns as the negative effects of alcohol and environmental degradation. Numerous works feature Mannomee’s trademark depictions of miniature people interacting with objects and animals, often ten times their size. Inspired by an Inuit legend about a smaller race of humans, these mysterious beings serve to remind us of our own dependencies in the face of forces beyond our control. Frequently the artist portrays industrious multitudes of Lilliputian-like stick figures, probably a whimsical reference to the same legend.

Kavavaow is the latest among the second generation to attract critical acclaim from the contemporary arts audience in the south. For several years Kavavaow has worked for the Kinngait Studios as a printmaker — first in the lithography studio and more recently in the stonecut studio. He is an accomplished and precise printmaker who enjoys the opportunity to demonstrate printmaking techniques to young artists and visitors to the studio. Kavavaow lives with his wife and son Peter in Cape Dorset.