The World’s Largest Public Collection of Inuit Art Is Opening in Canada — and You Can See It From Home
The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is finally opening Qaumajuq, the world's largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art, in Winnipeg, Canada, and it's celebrating the opening with a virtual exhibition, Forbes reported.
Qaumajuq, which means "it is bright, it is lit" in Inuktitutan, according to Forbes, is a one-of-a-kind museum that spans 185,000 square feet in Downtown Winnipeg. The gallery hopes to "bridge Canada's North and South," Forbes reported, and help reconcile the country's colonial past. The new museum was a collective effort between artists and Indigenous community advisors, as well as WAG's partners.
"Qaumajuq is a new museum, a transcendent place where Inuit vision and voices illuminate and inspire. We would not be here without the dedication and support of many individuals, families, organizations, governments, staff, and volunteers," said Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery, in a statement shared by Forbes. "We thank BMO Financial Group for investing in Qaumajuq, Eagle Vision for guiding our celebrations, and all our opening supporters for ensuring everyone can be part of this historic moment for Canada and Inuit everywhere, no matter where you are in the world. Above all, we are profoundly grateful to the Inuit artists, living and now passed, who inspire us, and have given us a reason to build Qaumajuq. This new centre is their stories told, their voices heard."
The physical space will open to the public on March 27, but anyone around the world can learn about Inuit art and culture from their homes during WAG's virtual event on March 25 and 26.
On March 25 at 6:30 p.m. CT, the virtual opening will include a tour of the space and the unique collection of art inside it, as well as an overview of educational outreach and the inspiration behind the building's design. In addition, performers from Inuit Nunangat, ArtCirq, and hoop dancer Marika Sila, will perform with Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers Mikey, Jacob ,and Cieana Harris, singer-songwriter Don Amero, and throat-singers Nikki Komaksiutiksak and Chasity Swan, as well as other artists from Manitoba.
On March 26 at 6:30 p.m. CT, there will be a virtual ceremony and celebration, including a blessing of Qaumajuq by the Seven Nations of Manitoba, as well as storytelling and celebrations from groups across Canada.
These virtual events will be streaming on the WAG website and social media channels. Both events are approximately one hour and are completely free. In addition, there will be planned celebrations throughout the year as part of the gallery's Qaumajuq365 program.
There will also be free admission days available to the public on March 27 between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. and from March 28 to April 2 between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.
For more information or to RSVP to the virtual event, visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery website.