New exhibit at the WAG features Inuit artwork dating back thousands of years

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A brand new exhibit featuring hundreds of pieces of Inuit art spanning thousands of years opened to the public this week in Winnipeg.

“This is truly an extraordinary show,” Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajug CEO Stephen Borys said during the opening event on Thursday for the brand new Inuit Sanaugangit: Art Across Time exhibit.

“This is an immersive show that features nearly 400 artworks from the homeland of the Inuit in Canada and well beyond, and it’s one we think the community will love.”

According to Borys, the exhibit, which will run until January of 2024, features work from the circumpolar Arctic region dating back as far as 200 BCE, up to the present day.

“This is artistic expression from over 2,000 years, and it’s displayed in this extraordinary space,” Borys said.

The exhibit is housed in Qaumajug, a $55-million, 36,000-square-foot addition to Winnipeg’s art gallery that opened in March 2021, and currently houses more than 20,000 pieces of Inuit art, making it the largest public collection of Inuit art anywhere in the world.

Borys added the exhibit will feature work from all corners of Canada’s Artic, as well as from Siberia, Alaska and Greenland.

“We are pleased to display work from artists that laid the foreground beside work of artists that are continuing and transforming Inuit art traditions,” Borys said.

The exhibit, which was curated by Dr. Darlene Coward Wight and Jocelyn Piirainen, features sculptures, drawings, and clothing, as well as printmaking and film.

“I am thrilled that audiences will get to experience this large-scale reflection of the diversity of work that is and continues to be Inuit,” Coward Wight said.

“This exhibition shares the incredible range of creative work by artists from across the north.”

Members of the public are now invited to a free grand opening celebration for Inuit Sanaugangit: Art Across Time on Friday at 7 p.m. at the WAG-Qaumajug building in Winnipeg, and the exhibit will be open to the public until Jan. 4, 2024.

Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun