Winnipeg Art Gallery names 4 curators for Inuit Art Centre's 1st exhibitions

The Winnipeg Art gallery has named the four curators who will create the Inuit Art Centre’s first exhibitions when it opens in 2020, and they plan to commission a lot of new work for the inaugural show.

Heather Igloliorte will lead team of artists and curators to commission new work for exhibitions

Kablusiak, Krista Ulujuk Zawadski and Asinnajaq (also known as Isabella Rose Weetaluktuk) have all been named to the curatorial team that Heather Igloliorte will lead. (Courtesy Winnipeg Art Gallery )

The Winnipeg Art Gallery has named the four curators who will create the Inuit Art Centre's first exhibitions when the new 40,000-square-foot centre opens in 2020, and they plan to commission plenty of new work for the inaugural show.

"Our plan for it is to commission and find and borrow a lot of really new work. Contemporary work doesn't just mean work that is in contemporary media — it also includes stone sculpture and basketry that we've seen before," said Heather Igloliorte, an Inuk curator and art historian from Nunatsiavut, an autonomous area in Newfoundland and Labrador which has an Inuit regional government.

Igloliorte will lead three other artists and curators for the exhibitions.

Asinnajaq (also known as Isabella Rose Weetaluktuk), Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter and Krista Ulujuk Zawadski have all been named to the curatorial team.

"We think it will be largely new, probably specially made work for the exhibition, but it will be in very diverse media. It'll cover geographically a lot of the Arctic as well as a lot of different kinds of media," said Igloliorte.

She said she hopes the art centre will provide a "collective voice" to work that's being done across the country by Inuit artists.

This is the first time in Canadian history that Inuit from each region of Inuit Nunangat are getting to work together across very geographically remote and distant regions, Igloliorte said.

"We don't have a lot of opportunities to do this work in the North right now. There are no universities in the Arctic, only a number of colleges, few museums and just a few cultural centres."

Asinnajaq is an Inuk filmmaker and artist from Nunavik who has curated film screenings for multiple festivals and exhibitions.

"She brings an understanding not only of [the northern Quebec region] Nunavik but also about filmmaking and experimental video art and digital work, which is another area that we don't maybe know as much about when we think about Inuit art," said Igloliorte.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Winnipeg Art Gallery's Inuit Art Centre. The 40,000-square-foot, $65-million centre is expected to open in 2020. (Michael Maltzan Architecture/Winnipeg Art Gallery)

Nasogaluak Carpenter is a Calgary and Banff-based Inuvialuk artist and curator who is a member of the gallery's Indigenous Advisory Circle, which was formed last year.

"The team was basically formed because we feel we will work really well together and we have a reciprocal relationship already," said Igloliorte.

Zawadski is the curator of Inuit art for the Government of Nunavut's Department of Culture and Heritage and is currently based in Rankin Inlet.

"Krista has been working with the WAG — she's the main liaison to the Nunavut collection that's been here," said Igloliorte. "She's got a master's degree in anthropological work."

The $65-million Inuit Art Centre will be one of the largest exhibition spaces in North America dedicated specifically to Indigenous art when it opens.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery currently holds the world's largest public collection of Inuit art — more than 13,000 pieces — which will be put on display in the upcoming centre.


  • An earlier version of this story said the Inuit Art Centre will be a 8,000-square-foot centre and will cost $60 million. In fact, one of the galleries in the centre will be 8,000 square feet but the building will be 40,000 square feet in total, and is expected to cost $65 million.
    Feb 08, 2018 7:05 PM CT