Let’s play a fun game to cheer us up during this covid winter. Imagine that you, and most of the world, are now vaccinated. You are able to travel. (Yes. Ahhh…..) Which art museum / gallery will you visit first? (Take a moment – or ten – to imagine and savour the possibilities.)
Serious contenders for my immediate attention are the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, British Columbia and the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Both of these Canadian art museums opened in the last five years. I haven’t visited them – yet.
Continuing on this train (caravan?!) of thought about ‘new-to-me’ Canadian art galleries, my choice is quickly decided. Post pandemic, the first art museum I will visit is Qaumajuq, a brand new, striking addition to the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Qaumajuq is an exciting collaboration between the Government of Nunavut (northern Canada) and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. In 2015, the Government of Nunavut entrusted its Fine Arts Collection of Inuit art to the WAG, which provides care, storage, and exhibition of the art, along with mentorship and educational programming.
The partnership makes the world’s largest collection (14,000+ artworks) of Inuit art accessible to many more people. This week a significant sculpture, Tuniigusiia, was installed outside the building. Goota Ashoona‘s marble sculpture was commissioned by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.
The Government of Nunavut has chosen a good home for its Inuit art collection. The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a leader in the visual arts in Canada. It opened in 1912; it was the first civic art gallery in Canada. Before the realization of Qaumajuq, the WAG was renown for its extensive Inuit art collection that began with a sculpture purchase in 1956. It was also the first public gallery in Canada to exhibit contemporary First Nations art.
I’ve enjoyed imagining this trip to the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It’s brought back good memories of past visits to the WAG, and all the great art I’ve seen there. We WILL be visiting art galleries and museums again. Which one will you visit first?