Shuvinai Ashoona, born in 1961, began to draw in 1995. While never formally trained in graphic arts,Shuvinai Ashoona's drawings flip between closely observed naturalism and visions of the fantastical, monstrous, and strange. A third-generation Cape Dorset artist, Ashoona is descended from creative royalty: her grandmother was the acclaimed graphic artist Pitseolak Ashoona, and the sculptor Kiawak Ashoona was her father. Her cousin Annie Pootoogook is much admired in southern Canada for her unsentimental drawings of contemporary Inuit life. Still, Shuvinai stands distinct from them all, bestowing an eerie or unsettling mood upon even her most quotidian subjects.
These include obsessively worked landscapes in which Inuit families camp, hunt, and fish among barren expanses of pebbles, stones, and rocks; detailed townscapes where Inuit adults and children work and play amid prefab buildings; and canvas tents with wooden doors scavenged from shipping crates.