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WAG Inuit Art Curator Receives Honorary Doctoral Degree

Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 17, 2013: Darlene Coward Wight, Curator of Inuit Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) at the University of Manitoba’s Fall Convocation on Wednesday, October 17.

As curator and art historian, Coward Wight’s work has centered on preserving, promoting, and celebrating the work of Canadian Inuit artists. Since joining the WAG in 1986, she has curated an amazing 76 exhibitions, some of which have toured throughout Canada and Europe, including Italy, Greece, and Monaco. The touring exhibition Holman: Forty Years of Graphic Art (2001) was accompanied by a 39-minute video, Holman/Ulukhaktok, filmed in Holman (now Ulukhaktok) and directed by Wight.

“Darlene is one of the world’s major experts in Inuit art,” says WAG Executive Director Stephen Borys. “The WAG has the largest collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world and much of that is due to her innovations, her remarkable ability to engage with artists, and her recognition and support of younger, trailblazing artists. Her rapport with collectors of Inuit art such as Dr. Harry Winrob, Bob and Marlene Stafford, Jerry Twomey, and others, has resulted in some outstanding collections being donated to the WAG, to the point where almost half of our 26,000+ permanent collection is now Inuit sculpture, prints, drawings, ceramics, and textiles.”

Coward Wight has given lectures across Canada and the U.S. Later this month she will be presenting a paper and co-chairing a session at the Inuit Studies Conference in Washington, D.C., one of the most prestigious conferences in the world. Her exhibition research has been published in numerous articles and small publications, and in twenty outstanding exhibition catalogues. Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture, 1949-1955 and The Harry Winrob Collection of Inuit Sculpture both received Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards. Her latest publication, Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art, will have a book launch at McNally Robinson Booksellers at 7pm on November 15. It accompanies the exhibition of the same name opening at the WAG on January 25, 2013.

“Since graduating from Carleton University in 1981, Darlene has traveled extensively to Inuit communities throughout the north, and her knowledge of Inuit art and artists is encyclopedic,” says WAG Chief Curator Helen Delacretaz. “Her work has brought a previously marginalized art form into the main stream and raised Canadians’ awareness of this important part of our national culture.”

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The Winnipeg Art Gallery is celebrating its Centennial year with an unparalleled series of exhibitions, programs, and events promoting the power of art in life. As Manitoba’s leading art museum, the WAG is home to over 26,000 works of art spanning ten centuries, including the world’s preeminent collection of contemporary Inuit art.

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