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Shuvinai Ashoona
Holding on to Universes

Fri 7 February — Sun 22 March 2020

Known for her colourful pencil drawings depicting folklore tales, memories of the past, visions of the future, human-animal hybrid creatures and women giving birth to worlds, Shuvinai Ashoona portrays a range of scenes from remembered familial rituals and traditions to mystical, imagined events. Her works often reflect upon the creation of new life, community and the magic of different worlds – connecting with people, animals, histories and contemporary cultures otherwise.

This exhibition brings together some of Shuvinai’s lesser exhibited works, many of which depict her hometown of Kinngait, Cape Dorset, Nunavut in today’s northern Canada. As a body of works her drawings reflect the shift from life on the land and ice to settled communities, and the complexity of contemporary life in the wake of Arctic colonialism. As well as fictionalised, otherworldly scenes, this exhibition brings into focus Shuvinai’s use of perspective and her depiction of everyday life. Many works in the show position the viewer (or artist) as voyeur, animal, hunter and participant. Depicting fantastical futures and complex realities in equal measure, her works reveal dramatic changes in the landscape, culture and agency of the so-called North.

Shuvinai Ashoona is a member of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative in Cape Dorset, a community organisation which supports artists in the region. The Cooperative model gives support to established and emerging artists, whereby all work is purchased by the Coop and sold to market, with sales distributed between all the members – a model that allows every artist in the community to be paid a daily rate for their work.

The exhibition is accompanied by texts by artist Assinajaq and films by Isuma collective.

Supported by West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative and the High Commission of Canada.

Screenings:
One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, Isuma (dir Zacharias Kunuk), Thu 20 Feb, 6pm, Free but ticketed / 15+
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Isuma (dir Zacharias Kunuk), Thu 12 Mar, 6pm, Free but ticketed / 15+