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Banner: Women Artists in Canada


To celebrate Women's History Month 2002, Library and Archives Canada has prepared biographies highlighting the achievements of 23 women artists in Canada. These artists have worked in a range of media, over the last 150 years. Some are less known, others have national and international reputations.

As in other areas of endeavour, women in Canada have faced many obstacles in pursuing careers as artists and in gaining recognition for their artistic achievements. Marital and child-rearing responsibilities left little time or energy for artistic pursuits. Of those artists who remained unmarried, few could support themselves on their artistic earnings and therefore sought other forms of employment. Art education and involvement in professional organizations was limited in various ways. Women artists frequently chose subjects rooted in their personal lives and experiences, which ran counter to trends in mainstream Canadian art. Coverage of their work was minimal in the early standard histories.

In recent decades, ground-breaking work by scholars such as Natalie Luckyj and Maria Tippett have highlighted the talent of overlooked artists such as Helen McNicoll and Prudence Heward. Artists such as Marcelle Ferron, Joyce Wieland and Janet Cardiff have earned international acclaim for the innovative use of various media.

It is hoped that these biographies will inspire readers to explore further the work of these and other Canadian artists. Other biographies will be added to the site over time. A reproduction of one work of art by each artist has been included, as well as a portrait of the artist when available. For those who wish to learn more about these women, a list of suggested readings is appended to each biography. A selective bibliography of general material on Canadian women artists is also provided.


April, Raymonde  Photographer
Ashevak, Kenojuak  Sculptor, Draughtswoman
Beauchemin, Micheline  Painter-Weaver
Cadieux, Geneviève  Photographer
Cardiff, Janet  Audio Installation Artist
Carr, Emily  Painter, Writer
Cohen, Lynne  Photographer
Clark, Paraskeva  Painter
Falk, Gathie  Painter, Sculptor, Performance Artist
Ferron, Marcelle  Painter, sculptor, Glass Maker
Goodwin, Betty  Printmaker, Sculptor, Painter, Installation Artist
Heward, Prudence  Painter
Letendre, Rita  Painter
Loring, Frances and Wyle, Florence  Sculptors
Magor, Liz  Sculptor, Photographer
McNicoll, Helen  Painter
Newton, Lilias Torrance  Painter
Odjig, Daphne  Painter
Pratt, Mary  Painter, Printmaker
Schreiber, Charlotte  Painter
Sullivan, Françoise  Sculptor, Painter
Weber, Anna  Fraktur Artist
Wieland, Joyce  Filmmaker, Mixed Media Artist

Graphical element: Acknowledgements

These biographies were researched and written by the following staff of the Reference and Information Services Division, Library and Archives Canada:

Maria Belanger, Mary Bond, Don Carter, Andrée Côté Moxon, Francine Falardeau, Amy Fisher, Sara Gladman, Veronica Healy, Patrick Labelle, Deborah Lee, Melissa Maude, Nina Milner, Anne Pichora, Martin Ruddy, Nicolas Savard, Risë Segall, Marie-Josée Tolszczuk, Chantal Tremblay, Joan Waiser and Nicole Watier.