Goota Ashoona

Artist Bio: 

Goota Ashoona is a third generation female Canadian Inuit artist. Goota was born in Cape Dorset and raised in an Inuit outpost camp at Lona Bay on the southwest coast of Baffin Island. She now makes her home in Yellowknife with her husband, Bob Kussy, and twin sons Joe and Sam. For the past half dozen years she has worked alongside her husband, son and nephew at the Ashoona family studio, where she entertains up to 1400 visitors annually from around the globe annually. She is a multi media artist, and a part of Canada’s premiere Inuit art family, the Ashoona’s of Cape Dorset. Her grandmother was the renowned printmaker Pitseolak, her father is the internationally recognized carver Kiawak Ashoona, and her mother, Sorroseeleetu, is a well known printmaker. Goota’s brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins are well known and celebrated Canadian Inuit artists. Goota and her family are one of Canada’s most successful Inuit art families… Over the course of the last half century the family has been involved in all aspects of Inuit art production and exhibition, and are know primarily as carvers and print makers… The family’s art work is to be found in all institutions and galleries that showcase Canadian Inuit art… Their accomplishments in the Arts include three issues of Canadian postage stamps, two Orders of Canada, and National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, two fellowship in the Royal Canadian Academy, the Canada Council for the Arts highest award in the Humanities – “The Molson’s Prize”, National film board biographies and documentaries, and over 200 National and International exhibitions of Canadian Inuit Art. “I am very aware of who we are …. What my family has accomplished with their artwork … and their tremendous contributions to Canada’s cultural identity at home and abroad. I am determined to continue the family tradition, to celebrate the artistic achievements of my family, and to keep alive the stories, memories, and skill of my parents and grandmother.” A multi talented artist, Goota is highly regarded carver, working with soapstone and whalebone, and has gained considerable recognition for her remarkable Beluga whalebone sculptures of women and children… While her strong evocative stone sculptures are certainly reflective of her father’s influence. She has created exceptional Inuit dolls, modeled after well know artists and people in Cape Dorset. Her spectacular wall hangings are based on the very well known drawings of her mother and grandmother. She performs regularly as a professional throat singer, has been featured on a documentary series on cable television’s the life channel, and she has further explored her artistic interests by working her family’s drawings into large sandblasted and etched glass panels, employing high pressure water jet cutters to create large outdoor aluminium family inspired contemporary Inuit sculpture, and compiling and completing a short Inuit Art documentary film entitled “Ashoona”. “We are very close as a family,…we talk about the years at our outpost camp, our artwork, family history, and retaining and refining Inuit skills and lifestyle. I am passionate about our art family history…I am deeply committed to exploring, cataloguing , reworking and celebrating the lives, images and achievements of my parents ,late grand mother and family.” Goota has represented the people of the North and Canada at international Art shows and events in Canada and United States. In 1999 the Mc Michael acquired one of her wall hangings – “Images from our family’s past” for it’s permanent collection, and 2003 the Canada Arts Council selected one of her large sculptures – “Kiawak Ashoona-Inuit carver, my father” and a second piece a wall hanging – “Images by my mother and grandmother” for additions to the National Art Bank of Canada. In 2009 a third piece of work,a whalebone mask was selected by the national arts bank. She has shared the stage at art shows, and teaching Inuit art and carving with her parents and husband, she spent much of the summer of 2003 as a carving instructor alongside her father Kiawak Ashoona in the Hudson’s Bay Inuit community of Arviat, and has twice participated as an urban Inuit artist and guest at the Nunavut Arts and Crafts festival. In 2004 the Canada Council for the Arts working in conjunction with the National Art Bank of Canada selected Goota as part of national aboriginal arts delegation that showcased major works from the National Art Bank at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., in conjunction with the grand opening of the new museum of the American Indian in Washington. Later that year, Goota was featured in a nationally broad cast radio performance with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation symphony orchestra as an Inuit throat singer. In 2005 she was part of major family show at the Yellowknife Arctic Cooperatives Gallery-“A Way with Whale” featuring 70 sculptures in whalebone. In 2007 several of Goota’s works were included in a travelling international Inuit art exhibition sponsored by the Museum National des Beaux –Arts du Quebec and supported by an exhibition catalogue. Her sculptures are also featured in a Inuit art book-“The Sea Woman” that explores the Inuit Sedna / Mermaid mythology published by the University of Alaska press in 2008 . The projects Goota has before her include travelling to Haida Gwaii for a carving and cultural exchange with the Haida of the Queen Charolette Islands in the summer of 2009, selection as the first Canadian arctic artist for a Ford Foundation sponsored artist in residence program at the American aboriginal museum-the Eiteljorg in Indiananapolis in the fall 2009, working behind the scenes for the upcoming six decade retrospective Inuit art exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery of her father’s career as a major Inuit artist, an installation of sculpture at the Edmonton international airport spring 2009, and participating at the 2010 winter Olympics as a cultural events participant with family members. Goota, her family, their art work and Yellowknife studio will be featured in the Canadian governmental tourism periodical –“Pure Canada” and the western Canadian arts magazine –“Galleries West” during 2009. Short film documentaries featuring Goota are to be found on the “you tube” computer web site, a throat singing performance at the Atlin music festival, and a winter visit to the Ashoona family carving studio in Yellowknife

Last Updated: October 6, 2015
North Slave
4921 46th Street
4921 46th Street
Yellowknife, NT X1A 1L1

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