Inuit Art Centre Announces All-Inuit, All-Female Guest Curatorial Team

By February 8, 2018News

In an announcement today, the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) has confirmed a team of four Inuit guest curators—Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Asinnajaq (Isabella Weetaluktuk), Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter and Krista Ulujuk Zawadski—will work together to open the WAG’s Inuit Art Centre’s inaugural exhibition calendar. Spanning careers that are both established and emerging, each member of the curatorial team has contributed to the appreciation and study of Inuit art and culture.

FROM LEFT: Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter, Krista Ulujuk Zawadski, Asinnajaq and Heather Igloliorte

“The inaugural exhibitions of the Inuit Art Centre will be forward-looking, inclusive, collaborative and dynamic,” said Igloliorte, the lead curator, in a statement. “We hope to create a space for the appreciation and celebration of the North in the South, while maybe even surprising audiences with the depth and breadth of contemporary Inuit art today, from digital media and installation art to mixed-media sculpture, music and photography.”

As previously reported by the IAQ, Heather Igloliorte, Assistant Professor of Art History and University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement at Concordia University, discussed the four curators’ involvement on December 1, 2017, at the Initiative for Indigenous Futures’ 3rd Annual Symposium on the Future Imaginary, but it was only today that additional details of the guest curatorial team and planned exhibition were released.

Naomi Ityi (1928-2003 Qamani’tuaq), Untitled  (c. 1973), wool felt and embroidery floss on wool duffle, 70.5 x 73 cm. Courtesy Winnipeg Art Gallery

In addition to her roles at Concordia University, Igloliorte is the curator of SakKijâjuk: Inuit Fine Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (2016), the first nationally touring exhibition of art by Nunatsiavummiut, and author of SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (2017), the exhibition’s accompanying catalogue. She is also the co-chair of the Indigenous Advisory Circle at the WAG. Igloliorte, who is currently an Inuit Art Foundation board member, has a long-standing connection to the IAQ as both a writer and guest editor as well as past member of the IAQ’s Editorial Advisory. Past contributions include Curatorial Notes on her exhibition By the Book? Early Influences on Inuit Art (2006) in our Summer 2006 issue, “Inuit Art: Markers of Cultural Resistance”, which opened our Spring/Summer 2010 issue, and her conversation with fellow curators Jocelyn Piirainen and Heather Campbell in our Summer 2017 issue on Museums. Most notably, however, Igloliorte guest edited the Fall/Winter 2015 issue on Nunatsiavut—the first issue of the IAQ edited by an Inuk—in which she wrote the feature “The Intertwined History Of Politics And Art in Nunatsiavut”, a reflection on the successes of and challenges faced by Inuit artists in Labrador, and “Women of Labrador”, a celebration of three women artists from Labrador: Josephina Kalleo, Garmel Rich and Nellie Winters. Most recently, Igloliorte nominated Inez Shiwak as an emerging artist in our 30th Anniversary issue’s “30 Artists to Know” Portfolio.

Rendering of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre, designed by Michael Maltzan. Courtesy Winnipeg Art Gallery

Asinnajaq is a filmmaker, curator and visual artist whose short film Three Thousand (2017) recently earned a nomination for Best Short Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. The animated film, which incorporates archival footage from the National Film Board that the artist spent two summers collecting, was screened at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in 2017, where it won the Kent Monkman Award for Best Experimental Work.

Asinnajaq screened another short film, Upinnaqursitik (Lucky), at iNuit Blanche in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 2016. The same year, she curated Tillitarniit (formerly Tillutarniit), an outdoor film and cultural festival held at Concordia University’s FOFA Gallery in Montreal. Most recently, she curated the short film program Channel 51 Igloolik at imagineNATIVE and the accompanying exhibition Channel 51: Igloolik – The Filmmaking Process (2017) at Trinity Square Video, both of which were sponsored by the Inuit Art Foundation.

Stone sculptures from the Government of Nunavut Fine Art Collection in storage at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Photo Karen Asher

The IAQ has been following Asinnajaq’s career since 2016 when she was featured as the Profile artist in our Fall 2016 issueAnd in April 2017, the IAQ was pleased to report that Asinnajaq was one of 17 Inuit artists selected as laureates for the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards.

To learn more about Asinnajaq’s artistic practice, you can read about her on our Inuit Artist Database.

Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter is a multimedia artist, writer and emerging curator based in Calgary and Banff, AB. After completing a Diploma in Fine Art from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art and Design, Nasogaluak Carpenter has contributed several works to galleries and exhibitions throughout Calgary, including the Provincial Archives of Alberta, the Femme Wave Festival, Sled Island and Contemporary Calgary. She currently holds the Indigenous Curatorial Research Practicum at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and she is a member of the WAG’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Nasogaluak Carpenter has also been featured in the IAQ: in our Summer 2017 issue, her original illustrations accompanied the Portfolio “Looking at Collections: Inuit Art around the World”, and she is selected as the Profile artist in our Winter 2017 issue on Futures, on newsstands now.

To learn more about Nasogaluak Carpenter’s artistic practice, visit her profile on our Inuit Artist Database.

Ceramics from the Government of Nunavut Fine Art Collection in storage at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Photo Karen Asher

Krista Ulujuk Zawadski is the Curator of Inuit Art for the Department of Culture and Heritage with the Government of Nunavut, whose Fine Art Collection is currently on long-term loan to the WAG. Zawadski is also the President of Sinaani Research and Consulting Inc., an organization based in Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), NU, and specializing in social science and geographic research. Over the course of her career Zawadski has been very involved in research and initiatives surrounding Indigenous museums and heritage centres across Canada, including earning her master’s degree in anthropology at the University of British Columbia in 2016 on the subject of Inuit heritage held in anthropological museums. With a background in geographic information systems, she also worked as a GIS technician at Kivalliq Inuit Association for several years. In 2014 she participated in the Smithsonian Summer Institute of Museum Anthropology, and from 2010 to 2015 in several programs run by the Inuit Heritage Trust in Iqaluit, NU, including archaeological field schools and cultural heritage worker training programs.

Zawadski is currently working on an exhibition project on the art of Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU, and has organized arts events and consultation sessions with Inuit artists. Zawadski is a member of the WAG’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors at Nunavut Sivuniksavut, a college program dedicated to serving Inuit youth based in Ottawa. She will also be a contributor to the forthcoming Inuit Art Quarterly on Bone (Spring 2018), hitting newsstands March 15, 2018.

The curatorial team’s duties are extensive, according to Andrew Kear, Chief Curator of the WAG, explaining the curatorial team “will lead the inaugural exhibition process from start to finish.” The Inuit Art Centre is set to open in 2020, Manitoba’s sesquicentennial year.

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