With this boisterous circular composition, Ashoona inventively expresses the traditional Inuit belief in the interconnectedness of life. A group of figures, hand in hand, form a ring around a brown bear, who is overlaid by a polar bear, a seal, and, finally, a char. On the right, a biracial white/Inuk mother is nursing her babies while being embraced from behind by an elder, who sits directly across from a kneeling figure with two children in the hood of her green amauti (mother’s parka). Alongside them is a winged narwhal with one flipper and a human hand and a Sedna (sea goddess) wearing one kamik (boot). The planet Earth—with arms and hands—completes the circle.
Shuvinai Ashoona: Mapping Worlds
Shuvinai Ashoona, Composition (People, Animals, and the World Holding Hands), 2007–8
Fineliner pen and coloured pencil on paper, 66 x 102 cm, Collection of Edward J. Guarino. Photo credit: Toni Hafkenscheid.