"When I start to draw I remember things that I have experienced or seen. Although I do not attempt to recreate these images exactly, that is what might happen. Sometimes they come out more realistically but sometimes they turn out completely different. That is what happens when I draw." – Shuvinai Ashoona
Ashoona began drawing in 1996. She works with pen and ink, coloured pencils and oil sticks and her sensibility for the landscape around the community of Cape Dorset is particularly impressive. Her recent work is very personal and often meticulously detailed. Shuvinai’s work was first included in the 1997 Cape Dorset annual print collection with two small dry-point etchings entitled Interior (97-33) and Settlement (97-34). Since then, she has become a committed and prolific graphic artist, working daily in the Kinngait Studios.
Shuvinai Ashoona is an Inuit visual artist from Cape Dorset, Nunavut.
Region or community
Cape Dorset in Nunavut
I create one of a kind jewelry that is completely handmade from start to finish. I use the German technique of hollow building to produce layers and shadow. Starting with flat sheet the metal is shaped and soldered. I am both a purist and an experimenter. I handmake all my tools, melt and pour metal, make my wire and sheet. I use experimental textures and construction to see how far I can bend the ideas of form. I am involved in every process of creating a piece, doing my own gem setting and stone cutting. I don't care about the time I care about the quality. About doing justice to the art form. Always a book lover, I studied many different eras and became obsessed with Art Nouveau (Mucha and Lalique), Egyptian goldsmithing, and Hellenistic art. Beyond my personal interest of historical art and the processes that create it, I care deeply about the forwarding of traditional Tsm’syen art and culture.
Each piece tells a story. Designs depict animal crests that tell the stories of familial rank and migratory paths over many generations. Using hand engraving for the traditional Tsm’syen forms, I then use color and textures to show different aspects of this visual storytelling. Northwest coast art is transformative. Creating it allows me to speak in silence and feel connection to my ancestors. This is why teaching the next generations is such a huge part of my life, because this art form brings healing. Morgan Asoyuf is a jeweller of the Eagle Crest, Tsm'syen Nation , Lax Kwallams band, from Port Simpson, B.C. http://www.morganasoyuf.com/
Shedding light on the dark, hidden history that Canada continues to harbour towards its Indigenous people is a main driving force behind my work. I often use humour as a way to ease the viewer in or out of the conversations I create, and the use of autobiographical components is my way of placing a human face on the contemporary and historical realities of being an Indigenous person in Canada. Within this, I deal with the loss of language, loss of cultural resources, and the effects of colonization upon the Indigenous people of North America.
I use painting, sculpture, large scale installations, print, and photography as a way to challenge our Western civilization’s consumption culture through introspection of our consumer driven monolithic ways.
By melding Kwakwa_ka_’wakwak art, cultural and societal structures with various Western art movements, I am challenging and persisting that consumerism, branding, and technology are new modes of totemic representation.
Sonny Assu isa We Wai Kai visual artist working in Campbell River, B.C.
We Wai Kai (Ligwilda'x_w of the Kwakwa_ka_’wakw nations)
“My aim is to breathe life into the continuance of traditional Indigenous arts. I research each piece with the guidance of knowledge keepers.”
My work speaks about my experience as a nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) woman. It is an expression of the natural world and represents my cultural traditions. I strive to communicate Indigenous world views in a contemporary manner. My aim is to breathe life into the continuance of traditional Indigenous arts. I research each piece with the guidance of knowledge keepers. The designs I choose represent my culture, family and personal life. My hope is that my work will cultivate a greater awareness in society with respect to Indigenous cultures in Canada.
For my latest piece "Nîpihikân Pimâtisiwin: Flower Life", I was inspired by the Cree Hoods that were first recorded in 1670 and worn by my ancestors. Generally, married women would wear them in hunting rituals or other ceremonies. “Nîpihikân Pimâtisiwin: Flower Life", represents my life journey. The designs emblematize periods of cultural growth. One of the flowers depicted in the piece is the wild rose as it symbolizes my cultural nation in Alberta. I've created this piece during the course of my first pregnancy. I've explored the traditional roles of mothers and wives from an Indigenous perspective. This work embodies Indigenous womanhood and connection to mother nature. Furthermore, it highlights cultural continuance and the transfer of Indigenous knowledge from one generation to the next.
Kristen Auger is a fine craft artist from Bigstone Cree Nation living in Fort St. John, B.C.
Bigstone Cree Nation
Region or community
Fort St. John, British Columbia; Wabasca, Alberta; Regina, Saskatchewan.