Anita Kunz: Original Sisters, Portraits of Tenacity and Courage

Selection of paintings by Anita Kunz, acrylic on acid free illustration board. 11” x 15” each.

Anita Kunz
Portraits of Tenacity and Courage

January 27, 2022 – March 12, 2022

IONA STUDIO is pleased to present a selection of painted portraits by internationally renowned, Toronto-based illustrator Anita Kunz to celebrate the release of her most recent book, Original Sisters, Portraits of Tenacity and Courage. The main gallery space will feature 40 of Anita’s 300 portraits of extraordinary women that she has portrayed from ancient to current times, whose discoveries, inventions, creativity and accomplishments have had resonant impacts upon the world. The beautifully designed and illustrated book, published by Pantheon this past November, contains 150 reproductions from the series. Covering historically important figures such as Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale and Anne Frank, to well-known contemporary artists, performers and activists such as Nina Simone, Hilma Af Klint, Angela Davis, and Greta Thunberg; from scientists, inventors, warriors, pirates and military leaders, to under-recognized figures from all fields and walks of life, the subjects range across geography and time. Each of these exquisitely rendered portraits is accompanied by succinct descriptions, written by the artist, of their noteworthy contributions to the world.

While Kunz may be most immediately recognized for her distinctive, exaggerated style of caricature and satire, these portraits are painted with a reverent touch that reflects the artist’s respect for her subjects. Yet there is buoyancy and lightness; each of the images embodies the dignity and humanity that too often was denied them in their lifetimes.

Women have been responsible for remarkable achievements in all areas of life and have made major contributions through the ages. Women make up half the world’s population and have had significant presence in all areas of the arts, sciences, sports and more. Some of the women portrayed are well-known, but many others have been marginalized. But these are women whose names we should all know.

– Anita Kunz

Selection of paintings by Anita Kunz, acrylic on acid free illustration board. 11” x 15” each.

Pantheon Press release

This is not only a breathtaking art book. Original Sisters also recounts a secret history that must be told so that it is a secret no more.

Original Sisters was born from the COVID-19 quarantine. In early March 2020, locked down in her home-studio in Toronto and longing for inspiration, artist Anita Kunz started researching 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. And then she began to paint their pictures and write down their stories. The result is a jaw-dropping feat of historic and artistic research. The wide variety of lives, occupations, time periods, and achievements is absolutely mind-bending.

The exhibition at IONA STUDIO is the first opportunity for a selection of the original paintings to be experienced in public.

Anita Kunz – Original Sisters, Portraits of Tenactiy and Courage Installation, IONA STUDIO GALLERY

Anita Kunz is an artist and illustrator living in Toronto. Her art has been published widely and shown in galleries around the world. Her work has been featured regularly in Time, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, GQ, Newsweek, The Atlantic and The New York Times magazine, among many others. She has illustrated more than fifty book covers and produced artwork for Sony Music. From 1998 to 1990 she was one of two artists chosen by Rolling Stone to produce a monthly illustrated history of rock’n’roll endpaper. In 2017 she was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration Hall of Fame. In 2009 she was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions as an illustrator and caricaturist.

IONA STUDIO is a program of contemporary art and cultural exhibitions, projects and events, produced independently or in collaboration with other partners and organizations. Located in Baldwin Village, in the heart of downtown Toronto, Iona Studio seeks to actively participate in and contribute to the cultural fabric of the city.

Selection of paintings by Anita Kunz, acrylic on acid free illustration board. 11” x 15” each.

The original paintings are offered for institutional acquisition. Limited edition giclée prints of each of the 150 portraits published in the book are available for sale.

Contact / 647.905.5066

190 McCaul Street
Toronto, ON, M5T 1W5, Canada

For more details about the program, the works, and the artist, visit here

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