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Suvinai Ashoona (1961 - ) - Biography

Suvinai Ashoona is a third generation Cape Dorset artist who is descended from Inuit creative royalty. Her obsessively worked landscape images flip between closely observed naturalism and visions of the fantastical and strange. She creates a world of her own- a silent world of complex and detailed tableaux of land and rocks.

Suvinai suffers from mental illness, which causes her to experience considerable difficulty in following the thread of her own thoughts. She is a very intense young woman, clearly troubled and confused. Her tendency to disassociate from the world around her makes it extremely difficult to discuss her art with her. Nevertheless, she is prolific and talented.

Through her art Suvinai is attached to the land and draws with precise memory for detail. Yet, ironically, she creates at home, in her bedroom, sometimes for hours on end. She prefers not to be disturbed. When she is inspired, the act of drawing represents a welcome escape from her otherwise preoccupied mind.

Suvinai works primarily in fine-point black felt-tip pen. She draws in her bedroom from bed. Shuvinai puts the paper on top of her bed and then sits or lies down on her stomach to work. With the paper laying directly on the sheets without any support underneath it makes the drawing surface soft and alive. Each stroke vibrates and communicates with her.

There, completely absorbed in her drawings, Suvinai works for extended periods of time. She creates detailed lined drawings with thousands and thousands of strokes. She knows the landscape and in her art you get vertical, horizontal, and linear perspectives from the ground, and from the air. It draws the observer into the land.

Suvinai's references to shapes in her art is a need to interpret the "brain" of the landscape. Despite her inability to articulate these thoughts coherently, her art is eloquent, precise, and speaks for itself.

In the prestigous McMichael Canadian Collection 1999 exhibition entitled Three Women, Three Generations, Suvinai's art was featured alongside that of her grandmother, the late Pitseolak Ashoona, and her aunt, the late Natachie Pootoogook.

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