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Construction begins on Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre

Ground was broken Friday at the future site of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre, which will be the new home of the world’s largest public collection of Inuit art.

“It’s really exciting that we are going to have a place where all of our art will be shared and represented,” said Heather Igloliorte, one of the four Inuit curators who will create the centre’s first exhibitions.

“It’s such a vast territory from the Inuvialuit region to Nunatsiavut, Nunavut and Nunavik in between, and really the whole circumpolar world,” she said.

The Inuit Art Centre will house the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s massive collection of Inuit art, comprising more than 14,000 pieces. 

“It’s only going to continue to grow as they collect new works from Inuit artists from all around the globe,” she said.

The co-curators represent each of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat. From left, Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter, Krista Ulujuk Zawadski and Asinnajaq and Heather Igloliorte. (Lenard Monkman/CBC)

Asinnajaq, another of the curators, is an artist and filmmaker from Inukjuak, Que.

“I was realizing the other day, because I work in film, a lot of the things that we think about in our industry is representation,” said Asinnajaq.

“That’s what this centre does, especially with Inuit curating this first show.”

Around 200 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony which featured the lighting of a qulliq (oil lamp), Inuit drum dancing and throat singing.

The ceremony also featured a sneak peek of a new exhibition SakKijajuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is the first major exhibition on the art of the Labrador Inuit. The public opening Friday night will feature performances by the Sila Singers and special guests.

The Inuit Art Centre is expected to open in 2020.

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