Two female figures stand face to face in a Northern landscape. The one on the left, wearing a colourful striped coat, shows a drawing to the other, who is wearing a black dress with white polka dots and holding a similarly patterned snake.

Shuvinai Ashoona

(b. Cape Dorset, Nunavut, 1961)

Shary Boyle

(b. Scarborough, Ontario, 1972)

 

Self Portrait

2015

Coloured pencil and ink on paper

107 x 86 cm

Private collection

© Shuvinai Ashoona and Shary Boyle. Photo: Paul Litherland


Self Portrait is a collaborative work by Shary Boyle, using black ink, and Shuvinai Ashoona, using coloured pencils. The two artists represent themselves in a Northern landscape strewn with strange objects and motifs culled from their imaginations. Some of the elements refer to the practice of working as a duo, like the drawing Ashoona’s character is showing and the blank sheets of paper scattered around her feet. Self Portrait blurs the notion of authorship and sidesteps the self-portrait tradition by exploring the creative processes that take shape in duality.


Although they come from different cultures, one living in Toronto and the other in Cape Dorset, Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona have been working in collaboration since 2011. Boyle is known for ceramics that suggest ambiguous narratives of love, pain and sexuality, while Ashoona produces drawings peopled by fantastical creatures and replete with disparate objects.

Private collection

Western Medicine is the result of a collaborative effort between Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona. Representing a hybrid, half-animal, half-human creature, it was sculpted by Boyle and painted by the two artists. The fantastical creature has the body of a snake, a recurrent figure in the work of both Ashoona and Boyle. Coiled on itself, the reptile is topped by a human head with a piercing, hypnotic gaze. This strange being decked out in a graduate’s mortarboard suggests the piece may be a humorous critique of the Western education system.

Shuvinai Ashoona

(b. Cape Dorset, Nunavut, 1961)

Shary Boyle

(b. Scarborough, Ontario, 1972) 

 

Western Medicine

2015-2016

Plaster, human hair, vintage graduation cap, cigarette, acrylic, ink

76 x 55 x 55 cm

Private collection

© Shuvinai Ashoona and Shary Boyle. Photo: John Jones