WAG-Qaumajuq exhibition celebrates 5 Inuit artists shortlisted for national award
An exhibition featuring the work of five contemporary Inuit artists from across Canada opened at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Friday.
Anaanatta Unikkaangit, which translates to “Our Mother’s Stories,” celebrates five Inuit artists shortlisted for the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award. The award is presented in partnership between the Inuit Art Foundation and the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq.
Billy Gauthier, Maureen Gruben, Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona, Kablusiak, and Ningiukulu Teevee will each receive $5,000 to support their development and career growth as artists.
“As an Inuit artist myself, it’s really exciting to see the opportunities that have come about in the last few years, not just through the Inuit Art Foundation, but through Canadian society as a whole,” Heather Campbell, strategic initiatives director at the Inuit Art Foundation, told CBC News.
“I think it’s important for all Canadians to listen to Inuit voice through artwork.”
A winner is set to be announced in September and will have a solo exhibition. Their work will also become a part of the WAG-Qaumajuq collection.
Campbell said it’s easier for artists to be more creative when they’re not worrying about bills.
“If they have the support from us, they’ll be able to have more control over their art and what they make.”
Most of the artists on the shortlist have had their work featured at WAG-Qaumajuq before, according to Marie-Anne Redhead, the museum’s assistant curator of Indigenous and contemporary art.
Each of the five artists interact with materials in unique ways, she said, creating messages of survival, joy and passion.
“I think there’s also an aesthetic that is so unique and distinctive to them as artists that you can really recognize who they are just by looking at them,” she told CBC News.
“They are really carving out a place for themselves in the art world, and specifically in the Inuit art world as well.”
WAG-Qaumajuq’s involvement in the award is important because the museum has a large collection of Inuit art that they benefit from, according to Redhead.
“To be able to support contemporary, Inuit artists is really important so that they can continue creating.”
An end date for the exhibition has not yet been determined, but it will run until at least November, she said.