Suvinai Ashoona

Suvinai Ashoona   Narwhal Gallery: Suvanai Ashoona - Egg

Detail from Egg, 2006
Lithograph, Approx. 24 x 17 inches (HxW), Cape Dorset

Suvinai is the daughter of Kiuga Ashoona and Sorosilutu, both well known for their contributions to the arts in Cape Dorset. She began drawing in 1995 and works primarily in pen and ink, and her sensibility for the landscape around the community of Cape Dorset is particularly impressive. Her work is very personal, meticulously detailed and precise. Suvinai's work was first included in the Cape Dorset annual print collection in 1997, with two small dry-point etchings entitled Interior (1997-33) and Settlement (1997-34).

Suvinai's work has attracted the attention of several notable private galleries, as well as public institutions. She was featured along with her aunt, Napachie Pootoogook, and her grandmother, the late Pitseolak Ashoona, in the McMichael Canadian Collection's 1999 exhibition entitled Three Women, Three Generations. Since then, she has become a committed and prolific graphic artist, working daily in the Kinngait Studios. In the 2006 annual collection Suvinai is represented by two lithographs reflecting her unique approach to her imagery, blending a very contemporary style with objects and elements from her traditional Inuit heritage.

When describing the print 'Egg', although it is never easy to get a straight answer from Suvinai, she told us that the idea of the tools in the egg came from a dream (or vision) she had of a pickup truck filled with tools and eggs. Later (with a little prompting) she explained that she combined the two because both are symbols of the creative process - the eggs in nature - the tools with man. Inuit artists rarely comment on individual pieces, and believe it or not this is one of the few occasions where Suvinai has said something that actually makes sense!