Singular Vision: New Drawings by Shuvinai Ashoona
Feb. 21 - March 13
All works are available immediately.
As Inuit artists are increasingly being presented in major solo and international exhibitions, awareness of these talented artists has grown beyond the community of Inuit art admirers. In 2017, for example, Kanaginak Pootoogook was the first Inuit artist to be included in the Venice Biennale’s main exhibition. That same year, Ningiukulu Teevee had a major touring exhibition that was hosted at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. Opening tomorrow at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Shuvinai Ashoona: Mapping Worlds, a touring exhibition of 36 works on paper makes its debut in Western Canada.
The Inuit Gallery first exhibited Shuvinai Ashoona's drawings in 1998 and her work has been consistently in the gallery and a favorite since that time. Today we are excited to present a wonderful collection of recent drawings by Shuvinai Ashoona, which celebrates her unique vision. From portraits, landscape and traditional motifs to many-tentacled creatures, globes and dinosaur eggs, Shuvinai’s work combines the everyday and the visionary. Among the drawings in this collection, she has created images of daily life in Cape Dorset, of people in the classroom, sewing, performing on stage, or working on art as well as portraits and figure groups. She has also created more fantastical works such as a series of interlinked planets held in the jaws of serpents, her drawing of a sled team consisting of a dog, an alligator, birds, a seal and the sea-goddess Sedna, or her drawing of a series of animals listening to mp3 players.
Each art work is a world in itself that captivates and intrigues. We hope the drawings bring endless fascination and we look forward to discussing them with you.
Shuvinai Ashoona (b. 1961) was born and has lived in Cape Dorset (Kinngait) most of her life. Part of a celebrated artistic family, Shuvinai is the daughter of carver Kiawak and graphic artist Sorosilutu Ashoona. Among her other renowned relatives are her grandmother Pitseolak Ashoona, her uncle Kaka Ashoona, her aunt Napachie Pootoogook, and her cousin Annie Pootoogook. Shuvinai began drawing in 1995 and has since become a prolific and acclaimed artist in her own right. Her images first appeared in the 1997 Cape Dorset annual print collection, attracting the attention of the public as well as several notable galleries and museums. Her early work was of meticulously drawn landscapes in pen and ink, but in the early 2000s she started to introduce figures, shelters and tools into her landscape imagery. Over the years her favourite motifs, such as eggs, playing cards, ulus, kudluks and text began occupying more and more graphic territory in her work. Around 2009 her work expanded to include more imaginative elements, with human, animal and transformation figures bringing together the contemporary and traditional worlds. She has been the subject of two films, has worked collaboratively with other contemporary artists, such as Shary Boyle, and has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Her work has been collected by several public museums such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and National Museum of the American Indian.