Jessie Oonark was born in the Back River Area of the Northwest Territories in 1906. As a young woman, Oonark worked chiefly in textiles. In 1959 she was encouraged to add drawing to her repertoire and her work was included in the first edition of Cape Dorset prints in 1960, and in Baker Lake print editions from 1970 to 1985.
Oonark continued her work in textiles. This gorgeous piece, Untitled (1973), is her largest work. Created of wool and felt, it was lent to the NAC by William and Jean Teron. It features symbolic figures and legends of the North, portrayed in bright colours, and set in rows and groupings on a striking turquoise-coloured background.
In 1984 Oonark was awarded the Order of Canada. Since her death in 1985, she has come to be considered among the most influential and important Inuit artists.