Ken Kirkby


View all available artwork by Ken


Ken Kirkby is a quintessential Canadian artist, born in England.

At the age of sixteen, Ken had his first exhibition while in Lisbon.  His show received critical acclaim, and sold out during the opening; a reflection of the caliber of work he would continue to exude throughout his life.


As a young man, Kirkby made his way to Northwestern British Columbia for work, eventually migrating further north.  It was in the Canadian Artic, while traveling and living among the indigenous Inuit people, that Ken became aware and involved in the social issues facing these people.  He vowed to find a way to connect understanding of life in the tundra with the consciousness of as many Canadians as possible.  This brought him to the potent symbol of the North that would help bring about this awareness.

It was the 'Inukshuk' - Massive stone figures of humans, some reaching 25 feet in height and important sign posts in the North.  The Inukshuk became an inspirational focal point for Ken and his art initiating his most prolific 2project.


The largest oil-on-canvas painting in the world 12' high by 152' long titled 'Isumataq' (An Inuit word meaning an object or person in whose presence wisdom might show itself) premiered at the Canadian Parliament, Ottawa Museum of Art, and the Nature Expo in New York fulfilling Kirkby’s promise to bring awareness to the North. The following year, 'Isumataq' was displayed at Ontario Place, attracting more than a million visitors.

'The inuit regard sky as father and the land as Mother, From their point of view this painting is a portrait. Canada is a northern country and this painting a portrait of the Soul of a Nation." - Ken Kirkby -


In the decades since, Kirkby’s primary philanthropic focus has been on BC salmon.  He is involved with non-profit organizations dedicated to restoring and preserving both rivers and ocean habitats vital to the viability of future salmon populations.

Ken currently lives on Vancouver Island with his wife and kindred artist, Nana Cook.  They both draw on the natural beauty of their environment as a limitless source of inspiration for their paintings.