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Ning Ashoona

Ning Ashoona

Ningeosiak Ashoona was born on December 20, 1979 in Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit).  She soon arrived in the family community of Kinngait (Cape Dorset) and began living with her grandparents on the land.  Ning was born into a family of talented artists.  Her great grandmother, (Mayoreak Ashoona’s mother) Sheouak Parr was one of the first Inuit women to participate in the early drawing projects of the 1950s.  Pitseolak Ashoona, RCA, her great grandmother (Qaqaq Ashoona’s mother) was a legendary artist for her drawing, prints and paintings.  She was one of the first artists to make drawings for the print studio in Cape Dorset in the early 1960s.  She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and received the Order of Canada in 1977.  Her great uncle is Kiugak Ashoona, RCA, who was a famous master carver who was also appointed to the Order of Canada in 2000.

Ning lived her younger years with her grandparents in Saturituk, (Mayoreak’s birthplace) on the southern coast of Baffin Island.  Living in this isolated outpost camp instilled in Ning a deep attachment to the land.  All Qaqaq and Mayoreak’s children learned how to make art, either graphic art or sculptures from their parents. 

Ning’s early life was a traditional one centered around hunting, trapping, fishing, and carving.  She has now been a full time carver for over 20 years with a family of her own to support.  She uses both hand and power tools.  The power tools help to increase her productivity and she uses the hand tools for intricate delicate work.  She is inspired by the beauty of Arctic animals and uses her creativity to envision new forms for her favourite subjects. Her slender and delicate loons exhibit the fragility of life.  The fluid Mermaids and Sedna’s with their elegant fins are elusive in the Arctic waters.  The balance of the Sea Spirits and Diving Seals is amazing.  Ning’s playful seals are often carved swimming or enjoying life.  The negative space around her carvings add to the sculptures presence.   Ning Ashoona has a uniquely feminine perspective.