Inuit Art Centre receives major donation

The Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, scheduled to open in 2020, will be the world’s largest space devoted to Inuit art.

Written by Henrietta Roi

September 11, 2019

The Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, scheduled to open in 2020, will be the world’s largest space devoted to Inuit art.

Construction began in 2018, and concrete has just been poured for the third floor that will be the gallery level. In addition, plans for the outside of the building have been expanded thanks to a recent donation of $2 million from the North West Company. The funding will help to create an outdoor plaza that will feature newly commissioned sculptures by Inuit artists — and will be a valuable space for programming.

Inside, the centre will feature a three-storey glass vault that will highlight the WAG’s impressive collection of Inuit carvings. Prints, textiles and other artworks will also have devoted gallery space. The gallery’s Inuit art collection consists of more than fourteen thousand pieces and includes the work of artists such as Joseph Pootoogook and Sarollie Weetaluktuk.

The forthcoming centre is changing the museum — and not just on a physical level. WAG director and CEO Stephen Borys said the process of developing and building the centre has provided perspective about how the museum can be more useful “in the community.”

While it is “easy to focus on the building,” said Borys, he maintains that it is even more inspiring to imagine the activities and dialogues that will go on inside.

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This article originally appeared in the October-November 2019 issue of Canada’s History.

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