WAG Opens Qaumajuq March 25 & 26 with Virtual Celebration & Free Days
Come on in to the new Inuit art centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory, March 5, 2021: The Winnipeg Art Gallery invites everyone to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime opening of Qaumajuq, an innovative new museum dedicated to Inuit art and culture, led by Inuit voices. A two-part virtual celebration on March 25 and 26, 2021 will welcome the world to the light-filled spaces of Qaumajuq, connected to the WAG on all levels. Artwork, performances, voices, and ceremonies bridging North and South will mark the unveiling of this new 185,000 square-foot cultural campus, now one of the largest art museums in Canada.
Presented by BMO Financial Group, Qaumajuq’s documentary-style virtual opening is produced by award-winning, Winnipeg-based Eagle Vision and hosted by the WAG’s Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, and Julia Lafreniere, Head of Indigenous Initiatives, with Nunavut’s Madeleine Allakariallak, former host of CBC North’s Igalaaq. Qaumajuq’s doors open to the public on Saturday, March 27, 2021.
- PART I: March 25, 6:30pm CT – WELCOME: Takes you on a journey through the new 40,000-square-foot building by Michael Maltzan Architecture; the world-renowned collection of Inuit art it holds; the education, outreach and meeting place it will provide; and the inspiration for its design and function. Performers from Inuit Nunangat, the homeland of Inuit in Canada – including Inuit performance collective ArtCirq and hoop dancer Marika Sila – will come together with Manitoba artists like viral TikTok jiggers and hip-hop dancers the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers Mikey, Jacob and Cieana Harris, singer-songwriter Don Amero, and throat-singers Nikki Komaksiutiksak and Chasity Swan.
- PART II – March 26, 6:30pm CT – CEREMONY & CELEBRATE: Tells the story of the spirits that exist within the art, the blessing of Qaumajuq in ceremony by the Seven Nations of Manitoba, and a mix of celebratory messages from across the country and beyond.
- HOW TO WATCH: The virtual opening is free and accessible to all, streamed on the WAG website, social media, and available through broadcasting partners. Both segments are approximately 60 minutes and start at 6:30pm CT. RSVP at wag.ca/opening. The event is part of a year of celebrations called Qaumajuq365, offering many ways to get involved with the inaugural year, virtually and in-person at a safe distance.
- All are invited to sign-up for free timed-tickets to explore the new building (limited quantity available). Advanced registration is required.
- March 22, 1-9pm: Inuit, Metis & First Nations Welcome Day: It is important that the Indigenous community is welcomed into the building first as they are the original keepers and protectors of the territory on which WAG-Qaumajuq stands. The Winnipeg Foundation is helping make free admission possible that day and supporting free admission to Qaumajuq-WAG for all Indigenous peoples beginning when the new building opens to the public on March 27, 2021. This policy advances the WAG’s ongoing work to respond to the TRC Calls to Action and the UNDRIP. If you are Inuit, Metis or First Nations, sign up for a timed-ticket at wag.ca.
- March 23-24, 1-9pm: WAG Supporter Preview: WAG supporters are invited for a sneak peek. Not a WAG member? Sign-up for a free Friend membership if you’re 25 or under or Indigenous, or for $35 if you’re over 25. This pilot for Qaumajuq’s inaugural year gives you 12 months of admission. Youth under 18 receive free admission without a membership for the inaugural year thanks in part to The Winnipeg Foundation. Learn more about WAG membership at wag.ca.
- March 27, 11am-10pm, March 28-April 2, 11am-9pm, Canada Life Qaumajuq Free Days@WAG: Everyone is invited to come check out the new building for free with special interactive programming for families. Canada Life Free Sundays@WAG start up again on March 14, 2021 (WAG only) and continue on the second Sunday of every month, including Qaumajuq as of April 11, 2021. The WAG is closed to the public March 21-26, 2021.
“I have witnessed first-hand leadership from every corner of this country that made this multi-decade dream a reality. Our mission was illuminated by visionaries and sustained by selfless volunteers. Together they forged a path that was bright and lit—the essence of Qaumajuq. On behalf of the Board of Governors, we extend our sincere heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all the stakeholders that contributed to the founding of Qaumajuq. It is bright, it is lit. Indeed this new art museum is more than a building, it is a beacon where Inuit voices are front and centre in sharing their creativity. Artists, Inuit, various partners and community leaders have collaborated to envision and create a vibrant gathering place where all are welcome and where everyone’s stories are told and heard in a true spirit of reconciliation.”
—Dr. Ernest Cholakis, Chair, Board of Governors, Winnipeg Art Gallery
“Qaumajuq is a new museum, a transcendent place where Inuit vision and voices illuminate and inspire. We would not be here without the dedication and support of many individuals, families, organizations, governments, staff, and volunteers. We thank BMO Financial Group for investing in Qaumajuq, Eagle Vision for guiding our celebrations, and all our opening supporters for ensuring everyone can be part of this historic moment for Canada and Inuit everywhere, no matter where you are in the world. Above all, we are profoundly grateful to the Inuit artists, living and now passed, who inspire us, and have given us a reason to build Qaumajuq. This new centre is their stories told, their voices heard.”
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery
“I am very excited to share Qaumajuq with the world. A lot of Ceremony went into preparing the artworks and building for opening, and I’m very grateful to the Indigenous Ceremonial Leaders who brought their prayers to Qaumajuq and the Spirit of the artworks that live here. Miigwech to Dakota Grandfather Wanbdi Wakita, Grandmother Pahan Pte San Win, Byron Beardy, Elder Dr. Mary Courchene, Chief Dennis Meeches, Elder Marcella Vezina, Victor Tssessaze, Elder Martha Peet, Joachim Ayark and Jolene Mercer for helping to prepare Qaumajuq for opening in the right way.”
—Julia Lafreniere, Head of Indigenous initiatives, Winnipeg Art Gallery
“We are excited to collaborate with the Winnipeg Art Gallery on the opening of Qaumajuq, a pre-eminent gathering space dedicated to one-of-a-kind collection of Inuit art. For over a century, we’ve proudly supported the WAG and are honoured to be a part of bringing this unique collection which celebrates diversity and culture to our community and the world.”
— John MacAulay, Regional President, Prairies Central Region, BMO Bank of Montreal
Supporters: The WAG thanks the following partners: Qaumjuaq Virtual Opening presenting sponsor BMO Financial Group; supporting sponsor Destination Nunavut; as well as Travel Manitoba, Eagle Vision, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Johnston Group, Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Arts Council, Cushman & Wakefield; City of Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman, Winnipeg City Councillors Brian Mayes (St. Vital), Markus Chambers (St. Norbert – Seine River), Ross Eadie (Mynarski), Kevin Klein (Charleswood – Tuxedo), Shawn Nason (Transcona), Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan), Scott Gillingham (St. James), Vivian Santos (Point Douglas), John Orlikow (River Heights – Fort Garry), Jason Schreyer (Elmwood – East Kildonan), Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre), Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry), Janice Lukes (Waverley West); Panasonic; Mondetta Clothing Company. Media sponsors Winnipeg Free Press, Outfront Media, Tourism Winnipeg, CTV Winnipeg, print sponsor Esdale Printing Company. Free Days@WAG Title Sponsor Canada Life, and access supporter The Winnipeg Foundation.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Amy Rebecca Harrison
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg Art Gallery
204.786.6641 ext. 210
The Winnipeg Art Gallery 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 Qaumajuq, the first of its kind. Opening March 27, 2021, the centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit wag.ca