Shuvinai Ashoona: Life & Work

Shuvinai Ashoona: Life & Work

by Sara Angel & Nancy G. Campbell
  • biography
  • english-from-canada
  • illustrated-art
  • indigenous

Shuvinai Ashoona: Life & Work explores the meteoric rise of Canada’s most renowned Cape Dorset-based artist whose personal drawings of fantastical beasts and imagined worlds have challenged stereotypes of Inuit art and earned her international fame.

Born in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) in 1961, Shuvinai Ashoona is now one of Canada’s most notable artists, whose work has been celebrated domestically as well as in Australia, Europe, and the United States. Her highly imaginative work combines aspects of traditional Inuit culture and mythology with influences derived from the non-Arctic world.

Hailing from a long line of graphic artists, including her grandmother Pitseolak Ashoona (c. 1904–1983) and her award-winning cousin Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016), Shuvinai took up the mantel in the mid-1990s, producing detailed, primarily monochromatic drawings that depict the natural landscapes and traditions of the North.

However, her attentions soon shifted to fantastical creatures, dreamlike landscapes, and aerial-perspective representations of a global community, expressed in vivid colour.

Shuvinai Ashoona: Life & Work delves into the world of an artist whose rich graphic imagery conveys an intricate and textured personal vision. Using coloured pencil and pen and ink to render dense, highly imaginative drawings, Shuvinai creates art that reflects the intersection of values between the traditional and the contemporary in the North.


Sara Angel, author

Sara Angel, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Art Canada Institute. For her doctoral studies she received a Trudeau Scholarship, the most prestigious award of its kind in Canada, given for innovative ideas that help solve issues of critical importance to Canadians. A recognized authority on visual culture, Dr. Angel has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Israel Museum. One of Canada's most accomplished visual arts journalists, Dr. Angel has had an extensive career in publishing, including being a commentator for CBC television’s On the Arts and editor-in-chief of Chatelaine. She writes for publications including Maclean’s, the Walrus, and the Globe and Mail to make the world of art accessible to a broad public audience.

Nancy G. Campbell, author

Toronto-based author Nancy G. Campbell is a recognized authority on Inuit art. A past editor of the Inuit Art Quarterly, she has been an independent curator of Inuit and contemporary art since 1993 and is currently a guest curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Art Canada Institute



rights available: World

Additional Information

publication date: 03/25/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book