WAG and Nunavut Art Collections at New Iqaluit Airport
Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 14, 2017: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) in partnership with the Government of Nunavut (GN) is pleased to announce a display featuring Inuit art at the new Iqaluit International Airport, which celebrated its grand opening yesterday.
Billed as ‘big and beautiful,’ the 9,000-square-foot-terminal offers significant exhibition space for artwork. When Nunavut asked the WAG to plan and oversee the art installation at the new terminal, the Gallery worked with the territory’s departments of Economic Development and Transportation, and Culture and Heritage, to bring artwork from both the GN and WAG collections to Iqaluit. WAG curators and prep staff traveled with artwork and installed pieces alongside GN staff.
In 2015 the WAG and the governments of Nunavut and Manitoba signed an agreement for the WAG to hold in trust the GN Fine Arts Collection of over 7,300 works on long-term loan. Largely kept in storage since before Nunavut formed in 1999, the collection is being documented, digitized, and displayed by the WAG before a permanent home is built for the artwork in Nunavut. The airport creates an amazing opportunity to celebrate the GN collection in Nunavut with its people.
The new Iqaluit International Airport opened its doors in mid-August with a grand opening September 13. The Winnipeg Airports Authority is the service provider and manages the Iqaluit airport for the GN.
• The new airport exhibition includes
o 58 Inuit sculptures from the GN and WAG collections
o 13 GN wall-hangings that will be rotated every six months for preservation purposes
o Five large-scale murals by Charles Johnston that reproduce prints and drawings from the WAG Inuit art collection
o Five large-scale wall-hanging reproductions from original GN works
• The Winnipeg Art Gallery is Canada’s oldest civic art gallery and holds the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.
• To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building an Inuit Art Centre, a transformative place led by the images and stories from the art, the people, and the land.
It is an honour to bring together artwork from the Government of Nunavut and the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit art collections for the Iqaluit International Airport. This ongoing collaboration is a testament to our dynamic North-South partnership.
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, WAG
The Department of Culture and Heritage is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase some of our fine art collection at the Iqaluit International Airport. We will continue to look for ways to bring our art for Nunavummiut to enjoy, through continuing collaborations with the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
—Honourable George Kuksuk, Minister of Culture and Heritage
Art has the power to enrich the identity and purpose of communities, regions and whole generations. At the Iqaluit International Airport, I worked to capture Inuit art’s central role in influencing the local community and passengers coming and going through the new airport, creating a powerful threshold at the arrival and departure of Nunavut.
—Eduardo Aquino, Public Art Consultant
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Government of Nunavut
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Winnipeg Art Gallery
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Winnipeg Art Gallery
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate – a lens and forum – helping people see and experience more through art. Playing a vital role in the community, engaging and enriching people of all ages and backgrounds through art and culture, the Winnipeg Art Gallery thrives as a creative, innovative, and accessible place for learning, discovery and inspiration.
The WAG holds in trust the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. Breaking ground in 2017, the WAG is creating an Inuit Art Centre to celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit. The Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. It will also house the WAG’s nationally recognized Studio art and learning program.
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