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Lesson Plan

Shuvinai Ashoona: Mapping Worlds

Think, Look, Draw, Write

Adapted from the Vancouver Art Gallery Teacher’s Guide 2020

Look at Shuvinai Ashoona’s drawings. Then after thinking about them, draw or write a response to the artist’s drawings.

Meet the Artist

Image from Dorset Fine Arts
©William Ritchie

Born in 1961, Shuvinai Ashoona has lived all her life in Kinngait, Nunavut. She comes from a large family of artists. She watched her elders create art at the Kinngait Studios. By observing them, she studied art and learned to draw.

Learn more about the artist >>

Shuvinai Ashoona uses pencil and ink, pencil crayons and markers to create her drawings. Many of her images show scenes from Kinngait and from stories told by her elders. She also creates worlds using her imagination. She says that her art is inspired by movies, comic books and television. Often, her drawings contain a story within a story.

Think, Look, Draw & Write about her Art

Composition (People, Animals and the World Holding Hands), 2007-08
Fineliner pen and coloured pencil on paper
Collection of Edward J. Guarino

When you Think about Shuvinai’s title, Composition (People, Animals, and the World Holding Hands), what images can you visualize or see in your mind? How are your images the same or different from the people and animals in the artist’s drawing?

Draw the animals and people you imagine.

Sinking Titanic, 2012
Fineliner pen, graphite and coloured pencil on paper
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery

When you Look at Sinking Titanic what detail do you notice the most? The cruise ship? The people falling into the ocean? The colors? The name of the cruise ship? Something else?

Write a story from the point of view of the detail that attracts your attention? For example, what story would the red life boat tell about the sinking Titanic?

Earth Transformations, 2012
Fineliner pen, coloured pencil and Conté crayon on black paper
Collection of Martha Burns and Paul Gross

In her drawing, Earth Transformations, Shuvinai combined parts of a human, an animal, and the earth to create an imaginary creature.

Think about two animals that represent different parts of your personality or two parts of your life.

If you combined features from both these animals to create one fantastical animal, what would it look like? Where would it live? What would it do during the day and the night? Does your fantastical animal have a name? Other qualities or habits?

Draw or Write about your fantastical animal.


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