KEN KIRKBY—WARRIOR PAINTER is a remarkable biography about a very remarkable man. It is, also, an unusual book about a very unusual man.
I have known Ken Kirkby since the day in 1990, when, as Speaker of the House of Commons, I agreed to the unveiling in the House of Common’s foyer, of his epic painting ISUMATAQ. This work of art became a vivid icon of our Inuit fellow Canadians. It introduced the Inuit nation as well as the powerful image of the Inukshuk to southern Canadians, and this symbol of welcome and promise of safe passage was appropriately adopted by the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
This is an enlightening story of a very intelligent, artistically endowed, determined and perhaps spiritually guided warrior for the conservation of the land, air and water upon which the continuation of all species, including our own, depends.
In a most unusual way, Patricia Fraser has portrayed the most personal aspects of Ken Kirkby’s life – his boyhood in Portugal, the influence of his family, his intellectual curiosity and his vision of the basic elements on which our survival is based. She reveals Kirkby’s frustrations, his successes, friends and those he loved, as well as those who admire and love him.
It is well worth reading, perhaps more than once.