North

Nunavut's art collection heading to the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Nunavut's entire Inuit art collection is finally being taken out of storage to be showcased for five years at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, as part of an agreement between Nunavut and Manitoba.

‘It means we're going to show the world our Inuit art work,’ says Premier Peter Taptuna

Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger shake hands over an agreement to provide up to $500,000 for a project to digitize the territory's art collection over the next five years. (Winnipeg Art Gallery)

Nunavut's Inuit art collection is finally being taken out of storage to be showcased for five years at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, as part of an agreement between Nunavut and Manitoba.

"This is the first time it's really come out," said Stephen Borys, director and CEO of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. "WAG is thrilled to be able to exhibit it, study it and have it alongside our collection for a few years."

An agreement with the province of Manitoba to showcase nearly 8,000 carvings, prints, drawings and textiles was announced on Thursday.

A wall hanging by Irene Avaalaaqiaq Tiktaalaaq, from Nunavut's Inuit art collection, will be showcased for five years at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of an agreement between Nunavut and Manitoba. (Winnipeg Art Gallery)
Borys says the gallery plans to digitize all of the art to make it freely available on the gallery's website.

The Nunavut and Manitoba governments have each agreed to provide up to $500,000 for the project over the next five years.

Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna says it's an opportunity to show off art that has been locked away for years.

"It means a lot," said Taptuna. "All our pieces, our artwork, that's been in storage in basements around the Northwest Territories and other places, with this here it means we're going to show the world our Inuit artwork."

The display could also raise the profile of Nunavut's artists.

"We do want to have our Inuit artisans and print makers recognized globally especially in the small communities of Nunavut," said Taptuna.

"And we plan on bigger things to come."

On Friday, the Manitoba government announced that it's spending $15 million toward construction of an Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The province says the centre will be the first of its kind dedicated to Inuit art and culture.

"Bridging Canada's north and south, the Inuit Art Centre will allow the WAG to share its world-renowned collection of Inuit art to its full potential," Borys said in a news release.

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