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About the Heritage Collections
The Government of Nunavut Heritage Collection includes a range of objects that are representative of the human and natural heritage of the Territory of Nunavut. The collection is made up of six collections: archaeology, ethnography, Inuit fine art, palaeontology, and botany and zoology. A portion of the archaeological collection is co-owned by the Inuit Heritage Trust.
The collections have been held at various institutions under various agreements. Most of the collection is currently being housed at the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN). Since 2015, most of the Inuit fine art collection is housed at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG). This collection contains Inuit fine art from almost every community in Nunavut, including textile pieces, sculpture, print, drawings, ceramic and jewelry.
Inuit Fine Art Collection
Inuit in Nunavut have a rich tradition of creativity and artistic ability. Inuit culture, legends and the arctic environment provide unparalleled inspiration and distinct themes in art. Inuit have been using their surrounding materials to create art for millennia.
The period of contemporary Inuit art began in the late 1940s. Since then, Inuit tapestries, prints, carvings, jewelry, and fine arts have become renowned throughout the world. Storytelling, throat singing, and drum dancing are also an honoured tradition amongst Nunavut's Inuit.
Inuit art in Nunavut has blended traditional knowledge with modern-day techniques. This combination of new and old brings together the practices of our elders and youth to create exciting, innovative art that is truly unique to Nunavut.
The art collection dates from the 1960’s to the present, and includes thousands of sculptures, prints, drawings and textiles by internationally renowned artists such as Kenojuak Ashevak, Osuitok Ipeelee, Jesse Oonark, Kananginak Pootoogook, Parr, Pauta Saila, and Irene Avaalaaqiaq Tiktaalaaq. Access to the collection will allow for showcasing fine Inuit art, the development of educational material, as well as opportunities for Inuit artists to study and use the collection to create contemporary art.
Documentary Art Project (artproject.indd (gov.nu.ca))
Winnipeg Art Gallery and Qaumajuq
In 2015 an agreement was made between the Department of Culture and Heritage and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) to house the approximately 7,000 of Nunavut’s Inuit Fine Art Collection. The collection will be on long-term loan at the WAG for five years.
It is the first time since the creation of Nunavut that these fine pieces of art have been out of storage and has created unique opportunities for collaboration between Inuit artists, Culture and Heritage and the WAG.
Qaumajuq, formerly known as the WAG Inuit Art Centre, is set to open in 2021 with a 40,000 square-foot building that will provide a new home to display Nunavut’s Inuit fine artwork.
The Government of Nunavut is currently beginning the process of making our collection available online. We hope that Nunavummiut and people from around the world will be able to enjoy the Government of Nunavut’s heritage collection. The transfer and digitization of the collection will be an ongoing project so please check back for updates.
If you are interested in donating belongings or Inuit art, please contact the Heritage Collections at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other inquiries please contact the Heritage Collections at: email@example.com
Manager, Heritage Collections
Tel: (613) 619-5439