Shuvinai Ashoona, Composition (People, Animals, and the World Holding Hands), 2007-08 | Fineliner pen and coloured pencil on paper | Collection of Edward J. Guarino, New York | Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto organized and circulated this exhibition, and Nancy Campbell, assisted by Justine Kohleal, curated it. The exhibition’s opening will take place Wednesday, October 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Mapping Worlds presents a selection of works on paper produced by Shuvinai Ashoona over the past two decades.
Though many of her early drawings depict daily life in Kinngait (formerly Cape Dorset), Nunavut, continuing an artistic tradition begun by the artist’s grandmother Pitseolak Ashoona (1908–1983) and first cousin Annie Pootoogook (1969 – 2016), Shuvinai Ashoona is best known for developing a personal iconography with imagery ranging from closely observed naturalistic scenes of her Arctic home to monstrous and fantastical visions.
This personal iconography, consisting of human-animal hybrid creatures, women birthing worlds and barren landscapes that appear to be post-apocalyptic even though they are inspired by the terrain of her northern home, project the past and present into an otherworldly, almost prophetic future.
And, unlike many settler visions of times to come — which focus on violent clashes between humans and nature, humans and other humans, or humans and otherworldly ‘invaders’ — Shuvinai Ashoona’s earthly and extraterrestrial worlds exist within a kinder intergalactic future.
The Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 12 to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.
Shuvinai Ashoona, Untitled (woman giving birth to the world), 2010 | Fineliner pen and coloured pencil on paper | Collection of John and Joyce Price, Seattle | Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid