Shuvinai Ashoona’s “guitar” series began in 2008 when Bradley Van der Zanden, a musician and manager at Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, offered to fabricate a guitar for longtime Inuit art patron Kevin Hearn of the Barenaked Ladies. Van der Zanden sent several blank guitar bodies to Ashoona in Cape Dorset and invited her to draw and paint upon the instruments. The artist enjoyed the process so much that, over the next several years, the project continued and expanded to include other instruments including bass guitars and ukuleles. After being painted in Cape Dorset, the bodies were sent back down to Toronto, lacquered for protection, and assembled into a finished instrument by Van der Zanden. In total, Shuvinai decorated 11 instruments including the fully functioning bass guitar you see here. Painted on both sides over deep blues and vibrant greens, the instrument is replete with the artists signature motifs including playing card suit symbols, block text in syllabic Inuktitut, a stone lamp (qulliq) and other “traditional” Inuit symbols, allusions to topography, and sandal-wearing figures that recline and stand in mysterious poses.