Skip to main content

Listening, Learning, and Teaching Through Art

David Ruben Piqtoukun. Inuit (Paulatuk), b. 1950. Airplane, 1995. Brazilian soapstone, African wonderstone. Collection of the WAG. Gift of Rosalie Seidelman, G-97-17 abc

WAG-Qaumajuq launched the Truth and Reconciliation Through Art tour in the fall 2023, coinciding with the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which recently received funding  from Johnston Group to continue to offer the program to the public and support growth with further research into the collection.

We talked with Rebecca McIvor, the Indigenous Learning Coordinator at WAG-Qaumajuq, to tell you more about the tour, and why it’s resonating so much in the community.

“We wanted to create a new tour that incorporated pieces on view in the Gallery that speak to Truth and Reconciliation, what it means to move forward, and give visitors something to think about and advocate for reconciliation in their everyday lives,” says Rebecca. Together, WAG-Qaumajuq’s Indigenous Ways and Learning department researched various artworks to articulate, enhance, and enrich the tour’s message.

Art is a language we can all speak; it has a way of communicating difficult topics and emotions by offering visual representations of stories and perspectives. One of Rebecca’s favourite pieces when giving this tour is Airplane (1995) by David Ruben Piqtoukun. This carving is on view in the Visible Vault and depicts a young person flying above an airplane over an igloo. This is a very symbolic artwork, one that may bring up different emotions.

For some, an airplane can conjure feelings of excitement or connections to a vacation, while for others, an airplane can bring up painful memories of family and friends being removed from their communities whether due to forced relocation, sickness, and/or being taken away to residential school. Artworks like Airplane are incredibly important in communicating this dichotomy and often results in a shift in perspective and opens doors to empathy amongst tour participants.

I am incredibly grateful to artists who share their personal stories through art. It’s an honour to share their stories with visitors and to educate people about Indigenous history from time immemorial to present. Being born Indigenous, specifically Michif, in Canada comes with a lot of responsibility and is a political act. I felt called to become an educator for this reason.

She notes that each time she gives the Truth and Reconciliation Through Art tour, she learns something new from participants. “This tour is for everyone, Indigenous, non-Indigenous folks, newcomers to Winnipeg, people of all ages, and everyone has their own experiences they bring to the tour. The tour changes every time we do it because it’s so personal and dependent on the perspectives and stories that the visitors bring, it’s a really special experience.”

When the tour launched last fall, the feedback was overwhelming and emotional. “People had tears in their eyes, they were thanking us for offering this tour and saying that the tour helped them to understand the historical Canadian timeline more fully.”

Now, with the generous support of Johnston Group, the tour can continue to evolve with new exhibitions, to train more guides, and expand the tour in new and important ways.

“As a company deeply invested in the well-being and prosperity of Canadian & Indigenous communities, Johnston Group recognizes the vital importance of truth and reconciliation in our nation’s journey towards healing and understanding. We believe in the power of art as a transformative force for social change and cultural understanding. The Truth and Reconciliation Through Art tour embodies these values by providing a platform for Indigenous voices, stories, and perspectives to be heard and respected,” says Johnston Group.

“Through our longstanding partnership with WAG-Qaumajuq and our support for this tour, Johnston Group reaffirms our commitment to fostering meaningful dialogue, promoting cultural awareness, and advancing the process of reconciliation in Canada. By investing in initiatives like this tour, we aim to contribute to more inclusive and equitable society, where all voices are valued and heard.”

We thank Johnston Group for their longstanding partnership with WAG-Qaumajuq and for their belief in the power of art to make our communities stronger. To book the Truth and Reconciliation Through Art tour, please visit


Catch a public drop in tour, included with admission on May 11 and a special tour on June 21 for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Take the Truth and Reconciliation Through Art tour – suitable for all ages.

Book a tour


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Take the Truth and Reconciliation Through Art tour – suitable for all ages.

Book a tour

Plan Your Visit
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
Email Us
Wed-Sun // 11am–5pm
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays