Shuvinai Ashoona, Composition (Cube), 2009
“When I start to draw, I remember things that I have experienced or seen.” Shuvinai Ashoona.
Shuvini Ashoona is an Inuk artist internationally famous for her drawings. Her subject matter is sometimes taken from the everyday world around her and sometimes from her bold imagination. She experiments with large-scale drawings and challenges ideas about what Inuit art should be.
In this three-dimensional artwork, Shuvinai has created a pencil crayon and ink drawing that can be folded into a cube. She is showing us Kinngait (Cape Dorset), the hamlet where she lives in Canada’s Far North, with its small houses against a background of rocky hills. This land is part of the tundra – an area in the Arctic where the subsoil is always frozen. As a child, Shuvinai and her family lived in hunting camps in the summer and Kinngait in the winter.
Shuvinai was born into a family of artists and like her cousin, Annie Pootoogook, learned to draw at Kinngait Studios in Cape Dorset (formerly the West Baffin Eskimo Coop – one of the most productive artists' cooperatives in all of Canada. Remarkably, in this small community, a quarter of all the people living there make their living from art. In 2018, Shuvinai won the Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO for her success as an artist. You can see more of her art in the exhibition called Shuvinai Ashoona: Beyond the Visible, opening at the AGO on January 23, 2021.