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Inuk Style and In Place: Reflections from Manitoba on view at the WAG

New exhibitions share works from the permanent collection

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory, October 26, 2020: The Winnipeg Art Gallery is excited to announce the opening of two new exhibitions focusing on the WAG’s permanent collection and the Government of Nunavut’s Fine Arts Collection, held on long-term loan at the WAG.

In celebration of the upcoming opening of the Inuit Art Centre, Inuk Style, curated by Jocelyn Piirainen, Assistant Curator of Inuit Art will be on view in the WAG’s Mezzanine Gallery until May 2021. In Place: Reflections from Manitoba, the first WAG exhibition curated by Riva Symko, Head of Collections & Exhibitions and Curator of Canadian Art, will be open until January 2021.

About Inuk Style
● Inuit fashion designs are becoming increasingly popular and in demand – and to celebrate the next generation of Inuit designers, Inuk Style looks at accessories and jewellery from generations past.
● This exhibition presents a dynamic range of clothing items spanning the Western to the Eastern regions of the Canadian Arctic.
● Historically, many seamstresses learned from a young age to sew and to make their own clothing from caribou or seal skin. This exhibition presents a selection of pieces handcrafted with delicate care and precision using sewing skills passed down through many generations.
● From the beaded fringes on amautiit, to the carved caribou antler beads, Inuit have put much of their own identity into these wearable works of art.
● The Government of Nunavut Fine Arts Collection holds a large number of wearable works of art – from carving bone and antler beads for necklaces, to ivory hair combs and pins.
● Artists include Tataga Akpaleeapik, Alice Omadluk Aleekee, Sakkiassee Anaija, Peter Assivaaryuk, Leah Idlout, Elisapee Ishulutaq, Zacharie Ittimangnaq, Mona Rebecca Ittiraqtaataq, Kate Kamimalik, Ulayok Lucy Kaviok, Gemma Unalerk Keasinark, Maria Kukkuvak, Mathew Kunangnat, Judy McGrath, Sybilla Nitsman, Eeteemunga Niviaqsiaq, Martha Okpik, Jessie Oonark, Eyuka Pingwartok, Jean Simailak, Eva Talooki Aliktiluk, Arnaluag Totalik, Papiara Tukiki, William Ukpatiku, Donat Qillaq, and a number of unidentified artists.
● Piirainen has been with the WAG since March 2019, and her position is supported in part by the Canada Council for the Arts through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), under which the Council is providing funding for three years via its Creating Knowing and Sharing, The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples program.

About In Place: Reflections from Manitoba
In Place celebrates a selection of recurring themes relevant to Manitoban artists over the past fifty years (1970 – today). These artworks serve as a celebration of the province’s contemporary art community.
● Drawn from the WAG’s permanent collection, this exhibition is a study of the ways in which identity, culture, and material are, in many ways, set “in place”.
● In the show, place is a metaphor for location, identity, belonging, and culture, simultaneously referencing margins, boundaries, peripheries, and migrations.
● The idea for In Place was sparked in March while we collectively “sheltered-in place” in an effort to curb the spike of COVID-19 infections. Symko’s first views into Manitoba as a newcomer to the province were through the WAG’s permanent collection.
● In the midst of the pandemic, the WAG shares its permanent collection with the community in a welcome, thrilling, and critical way.
● Artists and collectives include Dee Barsy, Jackson Beardy, Eleanor Bond, Sheila Butler, Cecile Clayton-Gouthro, Chris Cooper, Colleen Cutschall, Elinor Elizabeth [Betty] Dimock, Dan Donaldson, Chantal Dupas, Caroline Dukes, Aganetha Dyck, Marcel Dzama, William Eakin, Cliff Eyland, Lita Fontaine, Steve Gouthro, Bruce Head, Steve Higgins, Robert Houle, Simon Hughes, Barb Hunt, Alex Janvier, Patti Johnson, Sarah Anne Johnson, Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline, Wanda Koop, Marielouise Kreyes, Laura Letinsky, Micah Lexier, Patrick Mahon, Bonnie Marin, David McMillan, Shaun Morin, David Morrish, Norval Morrisseau, Alison Norlen, Daphne Odjig, Richard E. Prince, Don Proch, Carl Ray (Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation), Dominique Rey, Shelley Rusen, Jon Pylypchuk, Royal Art Lodge, Sheila Spence, Eva Stubbs, Tony Tascona, Ione Thorkelsson, Diana Thorneycroft, Esther Warkov, Janet Werner, Diane Whitehouse, Adrian Williams, and Calvin Yarush.
In Place curator Riva Symko joined the WAG in January 2020.

Inuk Style and In Place: Reflections from Manitoba offer our community opportunities to engage with the WAG permanent collection and Government of Nunavut Fine Arts Collection. The Gallery, and these vibrant new exhibitions, are here to provide inspiration, connection, and enjoyment to all, in the lead-up to the opening of the Inuit Art Centre.”
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery

“It was a huge privilege to make my first exhibition at the WAG a personal foray into the contemporary visual arts of Manitoba – my new home. In Place: Reflections from Manitoba showcases the dynamism, innovation, and expertise that clearly distinguishes Manitoban artists.”
—Riva Symko, Head of Collections & Exhibitions and Curator of Canadian Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery

“Inuit have always made our own clothing. Inuk Style celebrates the history of the varying styles of clothing and jewellery, and how contemporary artists are re-working traditional materials, knowledge, and sewing skills to create unique pieces of wearable art.”
—Jocelyn Piirainen, Assistant Curator of Inuit Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery

Associated Links
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Inuit Art Centre

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For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Amy Rebecca Harrison
Engagement Supervisor
Winnipeg Art Gallery

Amber O’Reilly
Engagement Officer
Winnipeg Art Gallery

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) 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 in the world. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind. Opening soon, the Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit


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