Qaumajuq’s inaugural show, INUA, brings together artwork created by nearly 90 Inuit artists.
The meaning of the name INUA is twofold. First, it means "spirit" or "life force" in many Northern dialects. In addition, it’s an acronym for "Inuit Nunangat Ungammuaktut Atautikkut," which means "Inuit moving forward together."
Heather Igloliorte, co-chair of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Indigenous advisory circle and INUA curatorial lead, said the exhibit features artists from across the North, as well as the urban south and other circumpolar regions like Alaska and Greenland.
"Emerging artists are celebrated alongside mid-career, senior and elder artists," she said.
"INUA includes approximately 100 artworks representing a wide range of media that challenges preconceptions of Inuit art — from digital media and installation works, sound art, sculpture, painting, drone photography and much more. This exhibition is history-making."
Marking a first for Inuit art exhibitions, this show was curated by an all-Inuit team that represents the four regions of Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit territories of Canada. These four curators — Heather Igloliorte (Happy Valley-Goose Bay), Asinnajaq (Inukjuak), Kablusiak (Somba K’e/Yellowknife) and Krista Ulujuk Zawadski (Igluligaarjuk/Rankin Inlet) — were also supported by an Inuit team.
"We’re developing an audio guide featuring the voices of more than 20 Inuit youth that will also be included in the opening exhibition," Igloliorte added.
The exhibition, located in the 8,000-square-foot main gallery, also features the past work of Inuit artists.
"The exhibit highlights the many distinct yet shared histories, practices and knowledge shared throughout Inuit Nunangat," she said. "The works of INUA span nearly a century of artistic production."
INUA showcases more than 10 new commissions, plus twice as many major national and international loans that complement works from the WAG collection as well as the Government of Nunavut collection, which is on loan to the WAG.
"Together, these artworks celebrate our past, survey the present and speak to an exciting future for Inuit art," Igloliorte said.
"Everyone involved in the exhibition is thrilled that the public will be able to engage with it both in person and virtually."
INUA runs until December 2021.