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Composition (Octopus Transformation)

Composition (Octopus Transformation)

Shuvinai Ashoona
Represented by Dorset Fine Arts

Based in Kinngait, Nunavut, Shuvinai Ashoona is internationally known for her monumental yet intimate and detailed drawings based in the stories of the north. Her mural design consists of a giant octopus wrapping its entire body around the hoarding. Its central beak is like a blossom, an open fruit or sun, a central energy radiating life. Its arms are like the limbs of the tree that the hoarding protects, creating another zone of protection metaphorically. The deep-sea octopus is a mysterious figure in the North, and Ashoona’s designs are drawn as much from science fiction as from local tradition. This octopus is a profound cosmic composition of many creatures, its long arms morphing into birds, ducks, geese, snakes, whales, walrus, fish, and caribou. Hovering planets suggest nested worlds unknown and imagined. Their ancient and living stories course through her body like the DNA of life itself. In Ashoona’s drawings all living beings are part of each other—inseparable. This dream world, both magical and deeply real, reminds us to heed our relations.

About the Artist
Born in Cape Dorset, North West Territories, Shuvinai Ashoona (Inuk) is a graphic artist. Ashoona works primarily in drawing which she began in 1996. She works with pen and ink, coloured pencils, and oil sticks and her imagination to draw the landscape around the community of Cape Dorset and contemporary Inuit life. Her work draws from her personal experiences, surroundings, and daily life in meticulous detail. Ashoona’s exhibition, Beyond the Visible, is currently on view at the AGO.

Composition (Octopus Transformation) is part of Tree Protection Zone, a transformative Indigenous-led public art exhibition at Hart House Circle. See works by other Tree Protection Zone artists: Susan Blight, Carrie Hill, Christi Belcourt (Onaman Collective), Isaac Murdoch (Onaman Collective), Taqralik Partridge in collaboration with Nils Ailo Utsi, and Que Rock/Manitou Nemeen (Quentin Commanda).