Alta Live: Artist Anita Kunz

The noted Canadian illustrator joins us to discuss her extraordinary work and latest book, Original Sisters: Portraits of Tenacity and Courage.

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Anita Kunz’s work is as recognizable as it is impactful. Her art has been featured on magazine covers from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone, appeared in museums and galleries around the globe, and resulted in Kunz’s appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada. The artist’s latest book, Original Sisters: Portraits of Tenacity and Courage, celebrates pioneering women—some you likely know, others you might not—with Kunz’s signature portrait work. She joins us to take us through her process, share some artwork, and talk about the tenacious and courageous women who inspire her. Join us!


About the guest:

Anita Kunz’s art has been internationally shown and published for four decades. She is well-known for her covers for the New Yorker, Time magazine, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, and many others. Kunz was named one of the 50 most influential women in Canada by the National Post newspaper. She received an honorary doctorate from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto and a second from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Her work has appeared in numerous galleries and museums, and she has won many awards. Kunz was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and, more recently, received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal of Honour. In 2017, she was inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Museum of American Illustration Hall of Fame, and in 2018, Canada Post released a stamp honoring her work. Kunz lives in Toronto

About the book:

Original Sisters: Portraits of Tenacity and Courage is a collection of portraits of groundbreaking women—Joan of Arc, Josephine Baker, Greta Thunberg, Misty Copeland, and many more whose names have been forgotten and are finally being brought to light.

The book was born of the COVID-19 quarantine. In early March 2020, locked down in her home studio in Toronto and longing for inspiration, artist Anita Kunz started reading about women on the internet. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for, but she soon found an array of astonishing people who had done amazing things—some of whom she had heard of, but most of whom she had not. She began to paint their pictures and write down their stories. The result is a jaw-dropping feat of historical and artistic research. The wide variety of lives, occupations, time periods, and achievements is absolutely mind-bending.•

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