fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Shuvinai Ashoona
La Biennale di Venezia

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Shuvinai Ashoona

1961, Kinngait


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Inuk artist Shuvinai Ashoona’s fantastical drawings inject surreal visions into depictions of contemporary Inuit life, overturning stereotypical notions of Inuit culture while capturing the dramatic changes it has experienced in recent history. Ashoona produces her work at the Kinngait Studios, a community-run art-making cooperative incorporated in 1959 as the artistic arm of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative. The humans who populate the domestic and quotidian scenes depicted in her pen-and-pencil drawings are joined by mermaids, human-animal hybrids, and fantastical sea creatures. Surreal details signal spiritual, cosmological, or phantasmatic forces in delicate coexistence with the everyday. In the two new works included here (both 2021), humans and animals both cohabitate and merge: in one drawing, a woman with a platypus mouth and webbed fingers reclines on an ice flow as a poncho-wearing, tentacled walrus confronts his own reflection; in the other, human figures are ambiguously enveloped by, costumed as, or walking alongside chimerical creatures. Ashoona’s merging of social experience, fantastical iconography, and narrative composition is infused with Surrealism’s mining of the subconscious and provides a simultaneously vivid and phantasmagoric vision of life in her community.

Ian Wallace

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte