WAG’s SakKijâjuk Reveals Long-Hidden Art of the Labrador Inuit

Exhibition opens alongside WAG Inuit Art Centre groundbreaking ceremony

Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 25, 2018: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is delighted to open SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut, the first major exhibition on the art of the Labrador Inuit. One of the final stops on its national tour, SakKijâjuk opens to the public tonight with a free event at 7:00pm and is on view until October 14.

SakKijâjuk (pronounced sak-KEE-eye-ook) – meaning “to be visible” in the Nunatsiavut dialect of Inuttitut – reveals the distinctive, innovative, and always breathtaking work of the contemporary Inuit artists and craftspeople of Nunatsiavut. Their stories, memories, and knowledge are little known outside the region, until now.

Nunatsiavut, the Inuit region of Canada that achieved self-government in 2005, is the world's most southerly population of Inuit. The coastal people of Nunatsiavut have always lived both above and below the tree line, and Inuit artists and craftspeople have had access to a diverse range of Arctic and Subarctic flora and fauna, from which they have produced a stunningly diverse range of work.

The exhibition opens the same day as the groundbreaking ceremony for the WAG Inuit Art Centre, which took place this morning further celebrating Inuit art and connecting Canada’s North and South. After years of planning the WAG is now creating a new home for the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world, set to open for Manitoba’s 150th birthday in 2020.

Quick Facts:
• SakKijâjuk features the work of 47 artists across four living generations: Elders, Trailblazers, Fire Keepers, and the Next Generation.

• The exhibition received the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Canadian Museums Association.

• Eight-nine works of art present a critical opportunity to introduce Nunatsiavummiut artists and craftspeople to the world.

• Artists from the region have traditionally used stone and wood for carving; fur, hide, and sealskin for wearable art; and saltwater seagrass for basketry, as well as wool, metal, cloth, beads, and paper.

• In recent decades, artists have produced work in a variety of contemporary art media: video, photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, and ceramics, while also working with traditional materials in new and unexpected ways.

• The WAG is Canada’s oldest civic art gallery and is home to over 27,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth.

Inuit artists have spoken through art, using materials drawn from the land. SakKijâjuk, the first exhibition of its kind, brings forth voices that have been unheard for far too long. I can think of no better way to celebrate today’s groundbreaking of the WAG’s Inuit Art Centre than with this seminal exhibition of art from Labrador Inuit.
-Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO

It is so exciting that this exhibition is visiting the WAG right now, as we ramp up towards the opening of the Inuit Art Centre. The WAG provides Inuit from Nunatsiavut with a voice that reaches far beyond our region, to local and international audiences alike. For decades, we have been isolated from the art world, but our artists have always made challenging, thoughtful, beautiful and meaningful art.  Come see the diverse and fascinating work that is produced in our region.
-Dr. Heather Igloliorte, exhibition curator and University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement and Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Concordia University; co-chair, Indigenous Circle, Winnipeg Art Gallery

• May 25 • Public Opening • 7pm • With performances by The Sila Singers (throat singers Jenna Joyce Broomfield and Malaya Bishop), and special guests. Cash bar. Free, all are welcome.

• May 26 • Curator Guided Tour • 2pm • Tour & Talk of SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut with Curator and co-chair of the WAG's Indigenous Advisory Circle, Dr. Heather Igloliorte. Free with Gallery admission.

• June 2, 3 • Guided Drop-in Tour • 2pm • SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut and a second exhibition, organic. See wag.ca for more guided tour dates. Free with Gallery admission

• June 3 • Talk: Renatus' Kayak • 3pm • Talk by Rozanne Enerson Junker, author of Renatus' Kayak: A Labrador Inuk, an American G.I. and a Secret World War II Weather Station, followed by a Q+A with Enerson Junker and Fred Ford, President of the Manitoba Inuit Association. Free entry.

Organized by // Organisé par The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery Division, St. John’s, NL. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, the Nunatsiavut Government, and the International Grenfell Association. Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au gouvernement du Canada, au gouvernement du Nunatsiavut et au International Grenfell Association. Supported by the Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.

Associated Links:
Winnipeg Art Gallery

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For more information or to prearrange interviews, please contact:
Catherine Maksymiuk
Manager, Media & Marketing
Winnipeg Art Gallery

Tammy Sawatzky
Public Relations Coordinator
Winnipeg Art Gallery

About the Winnipeg Art Gallery
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. The WAG holds in trust the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art on earth. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind in the world. Breaking ground in 2018, the Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit wag.ca

Click here for SakKijâjuk media release in Inuktitut. 




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