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,” Ashoona’s earthly and extraterrestrial worlds exist within a kinder intergalactic future. By inviting us into her world, inner and otherwise, Ashoona makes it possible to further broaden our conversations about the changing northern landscape, the role popular culture plays in Arctic communities and, importantly, the ways in which Inuit art and artists are presented within Canada and abroad.
The exhibition is curated by Nancy Campbell and Justine Kohleal and organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto with the support of The TD Ready Commitment, The Schreiber Sisters, Anonymous, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.