2021, Year in Review

What an extraordinary time to be part of the Winnipeg Art Gallery community! This year, we connected with our community online and on the road. We celebrated the opening of Qaumajuq in a big way. And our programming and reach continues to expand through key partnerships with community groups. Let’s take a look back at 2021!

The past year saw the kick off of Qaumajuq365 – the Inuit art centre’s inaugural year with projections illuminating the WAG-Qaumajuq buildings in celebration of the then soon-to-open space. We are excited to share these projections with you again this year, with a fantastic light show display on the Qaumajuq building playing nightly from sundown to 10pm.

In January and February, we welcomed two new monumental Inuit sculptures by Goota Ashoona and Abraham Anghik Ruben to Nutaaq Tummaqtuyuq, the Outdoor Plaza. Ashoona’s Tuniigusiia/The Gift was commissioned by the Manitoba Teachers Society “to honour teachers all around us – in the land and in our lives – who reveal the truth, wisdom and beauty that connect us all.” Ruben’s Time to Play was commissioned by Tannis M. Richardson and features a family of bears, playfully climbing over one another.

Goota Ashoona (b. 1967, Kinngait). Tuniigusiia/The Gift, 2020. Verde Guatemala marble. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Commissioned by The Manitoba Teachers’ Society on behalf of Manitoba’s public school teachers. Photo: Courtesy of the WAG.

Abraham Anghik Ruben. Time to Play, 2020. Indiana limestone. Collection of the WAG. Commissioned by Tannis M. Richardson, CM, LLD. 4

Qaumajuq, your Inuit art centre, officially opened at the end of March 2021, with a two-day virtual celebration and in-person programming, presented by BMO Financial Group. Everyone around the world was able to experience the light-filled spaces and amazing artwork, performances, voices, and ceremonies bridging North and South in the documentary-style event that streamed online. Re-live the virtual celebrations or visit us in person, WAG-Qaumajuq is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm, until 9pm on Fridays.

INUA, the inaugural exhibition of the Inuit art centre opened with Qaumajuq. INUA is a ground-breaking show with over 100 works of art by over 90 Inuit artists and is curated by an all-Inuit team representing the four regions of Inuit Nunangat, the homeland of the Inuit in Canada. See the exhibition at WAG-Qaumajuq and explore INUA Online. INUA is presented by RBC.

Throughout the pandemic, WAG@Home offered the community unique and fun ways to engage with WAG-Qaumajuq, the collection, exhibitions, artists, and staff. Over the spring, we made the exhibition, Born in Power more accessible by creating a variety of virtual programming, thanks to Safe at Home Manitoba.

Over the summer, we were pleased to partner with Manitoba 150 and Manitoba Credit Unions to launch Tour 150, Nakatamaakewin, a travelling exhibition showcasing the WAG’s collection of Inuit art that travelled throughout Manitoba to various communities.

This year we partnered with some incredible organizations like NFB, Tunngasugit, Treaty One Nation, and Manitoba Education. These partnerships will allow us to formally build ties that expand outreach and programming in the inaugural year of Qaumajuq and beyond.

2021 also saw some incredible exhibitions highlighting Winnipeg’s diverse history with a pair of shows, The Alloways’ Gift and Rosalie Favell’s Family Legacy, presented by the Winnipeg Foundation in honour of their 100th anniversary. Metis artist, Tracy Fehr honoured the lives of Metis women in Heartbeat of a Nation with 250 handmade, smoke fired bowls. This past summer we launched the inaugural Winnipeg Indigenous Triennial, Naadohbii: To Draw Water which reflects on international Indigenous connections to water. The exhibition is on until February 6, 2022 and is presented by BMO Financial Group.

Rebecca Belmore. Body of Water, 2019. cast aluminum. Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial. Produced with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Courtesy of the Audain Art Museum by Scott Brammer.⁠

In the fall, we took a hard look at our collection and its colonial roots and began work on the Artworks Renaming Initiative to address culturally inappropriate artwork titles in the collection by incorporating Indigenous knowledge into their renaming. This is an ongoing project that has a significant impact on the canon of art history.

After a year-long hiatus, 2021 also saw the return of an in-person CRAFTED Show + Sale which featured handmade goods from over 50 local and northern artisans, all in one place for a unique shopping experience, presented by Sussex Realty.

We owe the success of this past year to you, our WAG-Qaumajuq community. Thank you for your continued support. We hope to see you at WAG-Qaumajuq in 2022 – all the best!

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The Winnipeg Art Gallery is located on Treaty No. 1 the original lands and waters of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininiwak, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.
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