SHUVINAI ASHOONA: LIFE AND WORK — by Nancy G. CampbellArt Canada Institute
Text: Nancy G. Campbell
Editor: Art Canada Institute
Published: March 2019
Size: 8.50 x 11.00
Born in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) in 1961, Shuvinai Ashoona is now one of Canada’s most notable artists, whose work has been celebrated domestically as well as in Australia, Europe, and the United States. Her highly imaginative work combines aspects of traditional Inuit culture and mythology with influences derived from the non-Arctic world.
Hailing from a long line of graphic artists, including her grandmother Pitseolak Ashoona (c. 1904–1983) and her award-winning cousin Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016), Shuvinai took up the mantel in the mid-1990s, producing detailed, primarily monochromatic drawings that depict the natural landscapes and traditions of the North. However, her attentions soon shifted to fantastical creatures, dreamlike landscapes, and aerial-perspective representations of a global community, expressed in vivid colour.
Shuvinai Ashoona: Life & Work delves into the world of an artist whose rich graphic imagery conveys an intricate and textured personal vision. Using coloured pencil and pen and ink to render dense, highly imaginative drawings, Shuvinai creates art that reflects the intersection of values between the traditional and the contemporary in the North.
Toronto-based author Nancy G. Campbell is a recognized authority on Inuit art. A past editor of the Inuit Art Quarterly, she has been an independent curator of Inuit and contemporary art since 1993 and is currently a guest curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.