The time has come – after three years of construction, the new Centre for Inuit Art in Winnipeg is finished. Due to the current Covid-19 situation and restrictions, the opening is postponed to a date yet to be determined. Qaumajuq. Qaumajuq Quamajuq comes from the Inuit language of Nunavik in Arctic Quebec and means something like “it is bright / shining”. A group of representatives of the Inuit, Métis and First Nations decided on this name.
The building planned by the architect Michael Maltzan is an extension to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, located on Treaty No. 1 First Nations lands, in the heart of Winnipeg in southern Manitoba, Canada. It offers around 740 square meters of exhibition space for an inventory of over 14,000 works.
These include the collection of several thousand pieces of modern and contemporary Inuit art from the Nunavut Territory, which are on loan in Winnipeg. With Qaumajuk a cultural bridge is built between the north and the south of Canada, as it is curated by the Inuit themselves.
At the end of January, even before the opening, a highlight has been presented outside the building. A huge sculpture by the artist Goota Ashoona made from green Verde Guatemala marble. The title of the work, Tuniigusiia (“The Gift”), is about 2 meters high and weighing more than 9 tons, one of the largest Inuit sculptures ever created.
The title refers to the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next. Ashoona comes from a family of artists and many of their works can be found in the Qaumajuq. The work was commissioned by the Manitoba Teacher’s Society “to pay tribute to all the teachers who surround us.”