Celebrated for her large-scale drawings and enigmatic subject matter, Shuvinai Ashoona is a third-generation Inuit artist living in Kinngait, Nunavut. The dramatic changes in the North—the shift from life on the land to settled communities and access to popular culture—are reflected in her art, which overturns stereotypical notions of Inuit art. Ashoona’s work is unique among the artists working in Kinngait. By turns uncanny, comical and disquieting, Ashoona’s idiosyncratic dream-like imagery erases the distinctions between the natural and spirit worlds, and between the real and imagined. Many of her images include fantastical monster-like creatures, while others portray people and planets orbited by a range of beings including fish and walruses.
Ashoona’s reputation as a contemporary Canadian artist has steadily grown over the years, underscored by her winning the prestigious Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 2018. Her work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum (Iqaluit), the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina), the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), the Esker Foundation (Calgary), Mercer Union (Toronto), and SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico. Her 2018 large-scale solo exhibition at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery received rave reviews, and earlier this year she had a solo show at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. Art Gems wishes to thank Dorset Fine Arts for this donation.