Spectacular projection display to herald Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq grand opening

·3 min read

People can view a spectacular projection display on the exterior of the two connected Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) - Qaumajuq buildings.

The outdoor projections will feature contemporary artwork and imagery by Inuit artists along with Northern footage by Destination Nunavut, Travel Manitoba, and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Leading up to the Qaumajuq’s grand opening in late March, the display will be played between 6 and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays every 30 minutes until March 27.

“We wanted to do something that would get the community excited about this historic opening, something that Winnipeggers could be inspired by during lockdown, all while showcasing Inuit artists,” said Amy Rebecca Harrison, Engagement Supervisor of the WAG on Tuesday.

“The projections can be enjoyed outside from a safe distance while strolling past the gallery. Now that we're able to be open to the public again, visitors can enjoy both.”

The series is curated by Jocelyn Piirainen, WAG-Qaumajuq Assistant Curator of Inuit Art, with video work by Glenn Gear and Zacharias Kunuk who are Inuit artists featured in Qaumajuq’s inaugural exhibition INUA.

A video that uses archival footage from the NFB collection will also be displayed to show travellers coming together, children tending to the dog team, drum dancing as well as other Inuit artists and artworks.

“It shows the importance of the qamotik ("sled") and the vastness and harshness of the arctic as crucial elements to the Inuit cultural heritage,” said Harrison.

“Artist Geronimo Inutiq uses these archives as an opportunity to reconnect to Inuit heritage. These clips were selected by Geronimo to honour the ancestors and family members of artists and community members.”

Inuk multimedia artist Geronimo Inutiq has also provided a dynamic soundscape throughout the display.

The illumination will be on the WAG exterior wall facing Memorial Boulevard and the Qaumajuq facade facing St. Mary Avenue in downtown Winnipeg.

Following the projections, a Northern Lights-inspired display will be presented outside the WAG-Qaumajuq buildings starting Feb. 28 on Sunday to Thursday nights until March 31.

As well, the public can also enjoy two newly unveiled sculptures placed outside the buildings.

One of the sculptures, Tuniigusiia/The Gift by Goota Ashoona, is a marble statue that is meant to reflect knowledge transfer through education and storytelling, as well as the important role played by teachers.

The other sculpture is the Time to Play by Abraham Anghik Ruben, a large limestone carving of a family of bears playing.

Visitors are advised to dress warmly as it might be cold while they walk around the buildings.

This showcase is part of #Qaumajuq365, the Inuit art centre’s inaugural year. Qaumajuq aims to provide a new home for the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.

“Qaumajuq is all about celebrating the North in the South, and this series of projections is an amazing example of that,” said Stephen D. Borys, Director & CEO of Winnipeg Art Gallery in a press release.

“The light of Qaumajuq is shining brighter as we get closer to the opening of the Inuit art centre in just a few weeks, and we invite everyone to come out for this safe outdoor activity.”

Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun