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How to enjoy the art at WAG-Qaumajuq

Art galleries shouldn’t be intimidating! You don’t need any background knowledge to enjoy the art on display here. All sorts of people visit WAG-Qaumajuq each year, and that’s because cultural spaces like ours are for everyone. This is your Gallery.

There is no wrong way to experience the art on display at WAG-Qaumajuq. However you want to enjoy your Gallery experience is the right way for you. But just in case you’re looking for some tips on how to view the art on display – here are a few tips from our curators and educational programmers.

Take some time to just look

Take in an exhibition however you see fit: You can scan a room and go directly to an artwork that catches your eye, or you can spend time with every piece. The only rule to remember is that most artworks cannot be touched, but look for symbols that let you know if it is an artwork that you are allowed to interact with. If you aren’t sure, ask one of the guards on duty – they will be glad to let you know.

What do you notice about the artwork?

What is it made out of? Is it a carving? Painting? Photograph? Beaded textile? Something else altogether? Is the medium important to the message the artist might be trying to convey?

What does the artwork remind you of?

Your personal experience of the artwork is valid and interesting! Your own interpretation is part of the experience. Does the artwork relate to anything in your own life? Or the life of someone you know? Or does it speak to any important issues of today?

Read the label

Does the label tell you who the artist is? When the artwork was made? What is the title? Does this information give you more clues about what the artwork might mean? Feel free to use your phone and google more information about the artist, the time period, or the title. These are all clues about the themes held within the works.

Look at the artwork again

Are there any details you missed the first time? If it’s a narrative artwork, try to see what story is being told. If it’s a portrait, investigate the person’s face and guess how they’re feeling. If it’s an abstract work of art, look for things like textures, colours, and shapes that you didn’t see at first glance. Look for brushstrokes, fingerprints, bumps, chips, cracks, textures, people, dogs (like you’ll find in the Permanent Collection – Afternoon Tea (The Gossips), 1889 Sir John Everett Millais).

How does the artwork make you feel?

Engaging in viewing art can also be a “felt” experience. How does the artwork make you feel?Does the work seem sad? Fun? Mischievous?

What do you like about the artwork? Why? What do you dislike about the artwork? Why?

Feel free to take a picture of the artwork on your phone. This can help you see the artwork in a different way. It can also remind you of the artwork later. Just be sure to use no flash – which is damaging to most works of art.

Feel free to visit alone!

Some prefer to visit alone so they can meander and take time on what interests them.

Or bring a friend!

Having discussions about the artworks with a friend will help you think about what you are looking at more deeply. It may also make you notice details you might otherwise overlook on your own.

Remember, It’s hard to see everything in one visit, and the exhibitions are often changing. To avoid being overwhelmed, you could decide to visit a single show, and enjoy a coffee – or see two temporary exhibitions and return to view the permanent collection on another visit. You may even come to see a single artwork, and then hang out on the couches all afternoon thinking about it! If you sign up as a member, you can pop by any time to visit your favourite artwork or explore an area of the permanent collection you haven’t seen. It’s a different adventure every time!


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WAG-Qaumajuq recognizes that land acknowledgements are part of an ongoing dialogue with Indigenous Nations, and we are grateful to live and work on these lands and waters. Institutionally, WAG-Qaumajuq is committed to acknowledging our colonial history and we are actively working to interrogate the Gallery’s colonial ways of being.

WAG-Qaumajuq is LEED certified.

WAG - Winnipeg Art Gallery Outline
Winnipeg Art Gallery—Qaumajuq
300 Memorial Blvd
Winnipeg, MB
204.786.6641 // Gallery
204.789.1769 // Shop
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Wed-Thu // 11am–5pm
Fri // 11am–5pm
Sat-Sun // 11am–5pm
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays