Shuvinai Ashoona

About Shuvinai Ashoona

Shuvinai Ashoona began to draw in the early 1990s. Although never formally trained, Ashoona’s family and the Kinngait Studios in Cape Dorset have provided her with a creative atmosphere. Her family includes important artists like her grandmother, Pitseolak Ashoona, her sculptor father, Kiawak Ashoona, and her graphic artist cousin, Annie Pootoogook.

In the past, Ashoona’s work tended to focus on the Arctic landscape. Today, her work explores a new dynamism through compositions that depict human figures and other creatures with cleverly hidden imagery, and utilizes a wide colour spectrum. Her often-unusual creatures, animals, and monsters are balanced by a very careful and detailed drawing technique. Her graphics are often a combination of reality and the imaginative in which she creates her own abstract outlook of northern life. Through continuous experimentation with subject matter, Ashoona’s inventive drawings are consistently at the forefront of contemporary Inuit art.

Ashoona’s work continues to gain momentum and exposure; her most recent solo exhibition was Woven Thoughts at Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, in September 2014. Her work has been exhibited alongside the work of Annie Pootoogook, Sobey Art Award winner, and Shary Boyle, who represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2013. At Art Toronto the Art Gallery of Ontario purchased her drawings, Shoveling Worlds and Cape Dorset From Above for their permanent collection, in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Most recently, Ashoona’s work was chosen to be a part of SITElines Santa Fe: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, running July 2014 – January 2015. Other major international exhibitions include: Stadthimmel (City Sky) project in Basel (2008), the Sydney Biennale (2012), and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s major exhibition O, Canada (2012).

Ashoona is a leading contemporary Canadian artist and is in numerous collections of major art institutions, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; BMO Financial Group; Canada Council Art Bank; Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau; Fidelity Investments Corporate Art Collection; Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph; MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; TD Bank Group; and Winnipeg Art Gallery.