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Annie Pootoogook,Renowned Inuit Artist, Found Dead In Ottawa

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OTTAWA — An award-winning Inuit artist has been identified as the woman who was found dead earlier this week in the Rideau River in Ottawa.

Police say the body of Annie Pootoogook, 46, of Ottawa was discovered on Monday, but don't suspect foul play.

annie pootoogook
Annie Pootoogook is framed by her artwork on display at The Power Plant in Toronto on June 22, 2006. Her favourite piece is called 'Pitseolak Drawign with Two Girls on the Bed'. In the painting are Annie's grandmother, her mother Napachie and herself. (Photo: Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Jason St-Laurent of Ottawa's SAW Gallery, where some of Pootoogook's works are on exhibition, said it has been confirmed that her body was found in the river.

Pootoogook won the 2006 Sobey Art Foundation Award, an annual prize given for contemporary Canadian art, for her pen and coloured pencil drawings representing facets of Inuit life.

The prize is given to an artist who has exhibited a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated.

Pootoogook was born in Cape Dorset, on Dorset Island, near the southwestern tip of Baffin Island and came from a family of artists.

Her work has been featured at various exhibitions since 2002.

Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna is offering his condolences to Pootoogook's family Friday afternoon on Twitter.

And Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo tweeted that Canada has "lost great artist & great woman.''

The Sobey Art Foundation issued a statement late Friday that said "Annie's spirit shone through her work and she has left a tremendous legacy to the Canadian cultural fabric.''

Police are asking anyone who has information about Pootoogook's whereabouts in the days before her death to contact investigators.

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