This is our architecture and our home.
—Fred Ford, artist and igloo builder
Two igloos are taking shape on the roof of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Their presence coincides with the WAG's newest exhibit, Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments In Inuit Art.
Fred Ford is the man behind the igloos. He wanted Winnipeggers to experience a part of Inuit life in a real way. "This is part of our tradition and culture," he says. "This is our architecture and our home."
Ford is a photographer, art curator and collector with a European and Inuit heritage. His grandfather was a fur trader who fell in love with the North, but Ford's Inuk father moved his own family to Southern Canada. That's where he remembers building igloos in the backyard during the winter and sleeping in them.
Ford later moved to Baker Lake where his father was born to discover more about his culture. He thought he would stay one year. "In fact I stayed 25," he says, "and lots of times on hunting trips building igloos with other Inuit as we travelled day to day and stayed for weeks at a time in igloos."