Kananginak was born in Ikarasak camp near Cape Dorset, where his father was well known and greatly respected as a camp leader. Until he reached adulthood, he lived by hunting and fishing with his family on South Baffin Island. He settled in Cape Dorset for health reasons at the end of the 50s. Kananginak was involved from the beginning in the printshop project in Cape Dorset. He was an expert bird hunter from childhood, and this became one of his favourite artistic subjects. Although he had to hunt birds for survival, he learned very early to love them and observe their habits. He is very knowledgeable about the many kinds of beautiful birds that migrate from the South to the Arctic each summer: he observes them from a distance, attentive to their movements, their plumage, and their varied songs. Whether he is depicting an owl, a crow, or a pair of ducks, he renders each in precise detail.