Mayureak Ashoona


Date of Birth:    September 22, 1946                              Male/Female:    Female E7-818
Place of Birth:   Cape Dorset
Mother:             Sheouak Parr Petaulassie
Father:              Agiak Petaulassie                                             
“Every year I prepare skins, sew clothing, make soapstone carvings and I have also been drawing since the time they started buying drawings.  I will put all of my abilities towards what needs doing, as long as my abilities are available to me.  There are times when it is difficult if I’ve not yet learned how to do something.  But as we are the only ones living at our outpost camp I do get things done!  There has never been anyone there to answer my questions, so I’ve had to learn how to do things and make things on my own.”

                                                Mayureak, Ashoona, from Inuit Women Artists, 1994.

For a very long time Mayureak lived at an outpost camp and being great distances away from people demands self-sufficiency.  This required an income to provide for necessities.  So Mayureak took up carving as well as drawing because it made economic sense to do so and also kept herself occupied.  Mayureak’s carvings are very dynamic and strong and having uniquely feminine perspectives in their rendering as do her drawings.  You can see the influences from her background in the art she produces.  Ashoona draws in a variety of styles (including abstract) and the figures that she produces are engaged in a variety of activities.  Ashoona has in the context of her paintings and drawings an ability to explore, to work and capture the essence and master techniques of abstract or figurative representation through symmetry and balance.*

*Reflections on Mayureak Ashoona from a telephone interview conducted with Robert Kussy (son-in-law of Kiawak Ashoona), conducted at the Inuit Art Centre, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.  November 2002.

Mayureak and her husband, Kaka, also an accomplished artist moved back to the land in the late 1970’s to return to a more traditional lifestyle.



1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982,                           
1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987,
1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994
1995, 1996, 1998, 2006, 2009                            
Cape Dorset Graphics
(annual collection)
(illustrated catalogue)

Arctic Oddities
The Innuit Gallery of Eskimo Art
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(illustrated brochure)

April 1978                                                        
Cape Dorset1978 Collection of Twenty Lithographs
Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
July 1989 – May 1980                                       
Inuit Artin the 1970’s
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

August- September1979                                   
Cape Dorset: Recent Sculpture
Gallery of the Arctic
Victoria, British Columbia,Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

August – October 1980                                     
The Inuit Amautik: I Like My Hood to Be Full
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

February – March 1983                                     
Return of the Birds
Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
(illustrated brochure)

November1983 – January 1984                          
Inuit Art at Rideau Hall
Presented by Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

February 1985 – April 1986                                
Die Kunst aus der Arktis
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Affairs Canada, Ottawa
Presented by Commerzbank
Frankfurt, Germany
(illustrated catalogue)

June 1985                                                        
Alaska Eskimo Dolls/Inuit Prints
Provincial Museum of Alberta,
Sponsored by the Alaska State Council on the Arts
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

June 1985 – September 1987                            
Chisel and Brush/Le ciseau et la brosse
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

May – June 1986                                              
Northern Exposure; Inuit Images of Travel
Burnaby Art Gallery
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

November- December 1986                               
Cape Dorset Prints and Sculpture
McMaster Art Gallery
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

November - December 1990                              
Art Inuit:   Autour de la Collection de Cape Dorset 1990
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Centre Culturel Canadien
Paris, France

February 1991                                                  
Animals of the Arctic
Arctic Inuit Art
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.

May – June 1991                                              
Art Inuit
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at La Halle aux Bles
Saint Malo, France

August – September 1991                                 
Art Inuit
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Galerie Akenaton
Troyes, France

November- December 1991                              
Art Inuit: Autour de la Collection de Cape Dorset1991
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Le Colombier
Ville D’Avray, France

February – April 1992                                        
Art Inuit
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Galerie Montador
Dieppe, France

June – July 1992                                              
Women of the North: An Exhibition of art by Inuit Women of the Canadian Arctic
Marion Scott Gallery
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

November- January 1994                                  
Contemporary Inuit Drawings
Muscarelle Museum of Art
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A.
(illustrated catalogue)

July 1994                                                         
Arctic Spirit
35 Years of Canadian Inuit Art
Frye Art Museum
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

September – October 1994                              
Kunst van de Inuit Eskimo’s
Gemeentelijk Kunstcentrum
Huis Hellemans
Edegem, Belgium
(illustrated brochure)

October 1994 - September 1995                        
Insumavut: The Artistic Expression
Of Nine Cape Dorset Women
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Hull, Quebec, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

Sedna:Spirit of the Sea
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 1996                                                        
Images of Our Past
Art of Man Gallery
(illustrated catalogue)

December 1996- March 1997                             
Beeldem uit Arctica
Canadian Eskimo Art
Venray, Netherlands

January 1997                                                    
Stories in Stone:  A Canadian Inuit Art Exhibition held on the occasion of the trade mission to Korea lead by Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Held at the Westin Chosun Hotel and organized by McKnight Associates
Seoul. Korea
(illustrated catalogue)

March 1997                                                      
Inuit and the Sea
Canadian Eskimo Art
Eindhoven, Netherlands

November 1997                                                
Graphic and Stone
Sculpture & Drawing: Baffin Artists in two mediums
Spirit Wrestler
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

April 2000                                                        
Mayureak Ashoona: The Artist’s Hand
Inuit Sculpture Portfolio
Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada

February – March 2001                                     
Drawings from Cape Dorset
The Albers Gallery of Inuit Art
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
(illustrated catalogue)

June - July 2001                                               
Transitions 2
Indian and Inuit Art Centre
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)

August - September 2001                                 
Nuliajuk: Mother of the Sea Beasts
Houston North Gallery
Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada

Art by Women:
An Investigation of Inuit Sculpture and Graphics
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Women of the Ashoona Family:  Inuit Print Retrospective
The Guild Shop
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Spring 2005                                                     
Cape Dorset Sculpture
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
Vancouver, British Columbia
(illustrated catalogue)

Oct 2009 – Jan 2010
Uuturautiit: Cape Dorset Celebrates 50 Years of Printmaking
National Gallery of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
(illustrated catalogue)

October, 2009 – January, 2010                        
Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Kleinburg, Ontario

July – December, 2010                                     
Nipirasait: Many Voices
Inuit Prints from Cape Dorset
The Canadian Embassy Art Gallery
Washington, DC

June 2011                                                        
Dorset Large:
Large Scale drawings from the Kinngait Studios
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario
(illustrated catalogue)


Mayureak Ashoona
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Art of Mayureak Ashoona
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(illustrated catalogue)


Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec, Canada
Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Michigan, U.S.A.
GE Canada Inuit Art Collection, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Inuit Art Centre, Indian and Northern Affairs, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Inuit Cultural Institute, Rankin Inlet, NWT, Canada
McMaster University Art Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, NWT, Canada
Red Deer and District Museum and Archives, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada



1986     Hosting the Official Canadian opening of the late 1986 Cape Dorset Graphic Collection at the Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

2001     Participated in Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik, NWT, Canada



Berlo, Janet Catherine
AN EXHIBITION, A BOOK AND AN EXAGGERATED REACTION:  A review essay by Janet Catherine Berlo.  Inuit Art Quarterly: 10(1) Spring 1995, pp. 26-36.

Canadian Arctic Producers
CAPE DORSET: Recent Sculpture.  Ottawa:  Canadian Arctic Producers Cooperative Limited, 1979.

Leroux, Odette de alia
INUIT WOMEN ARTISTS:  VOICES FROM CAPE DORSET:  Edited by Odette Leroux, Marion E. Jackson and Minnie Aoudla Freeman.  Hull, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1994.

Marion Scott Gallery
WOMEN OF THE NORTH: AN EXHIBITION OF ART BY INUIT WOMEN OF THE CANADIAN ARCTIC:  June 6 – July 11, 1992.Vancouver: Marion Scott Gallery, 1992.

Muscarelle Museum of Art (Williamsburg)
CONTEMPORARY INUIT DRAWINGS:  The gift collection of Frederick and Lucy S.Herman.  Williamsburg, Virginia: The College of William and Mary in Virginia, 1993.

Routledge, Marie
MAYUREAK ASHOONA (1946 -).  In North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century:  A Biographical Dictionary/Garland, 1995.

Ryan, Leslie Boyd
CAPE DORSET PRINTS: A Retrospective, Pomegranate, San Francisco, California, U.S.A., 2007.