Undulating Inuit art centre Qaumajuq opens in Winnipeg

Undulating Inuit art centre Qaumajuq opens in Winnipeg

Qaumajuq, the new Inuit art centre in Winnipeg, Canada is an undulating cultural hub designed by Michael Maltzan to display and celebrate contemporary work by Inuit artists

A brand new Inuit art centre is opening at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG). Named Qaumajuq, this new cultural hub in Manitoba, Canada, has been designed to celebrate the creative output, and in particular contemporary work by artists from the Indigenous community in the country. The facilities have been designed by Los Angeles based architect Michael Maltzan and bring together clean, minimalist forms with a sense of openness and state-of-the-art gallery interiors. 

The project combines art galleries with spaces for academic research, studio art, and educational programs. This wealth of facilities to honour, study and learn about Inuit art is an addition to the city’s cultural map that has been awaited with excitement. The scheme involved the renovation and significant extension to the WAG’s existing 1971 Gallery building by Gustavo da Roza. 

quamajuq inuit art centre, interior

The new building’s undulating, light-coloured, Bethel White Granite facade brings a refreshing twist to WAG’s well known existing building. ‘Its abstract quality recalls the scale and carved forms of the North as well as the artwork housed within its walls,’ explain the architects. Sinuous and light-feeling, while at the same time firmly anchored to the ground through its solid materials, the structure features polished concrete floors and clean, white interiors that allow the art to take centre stage.

The centre contains galleries, but also classrooms, art studios, an interactive theatre and research areas, as well as a shop and cafe. The interior is flowing and open, allowing views through areas and levels. A custom desiged glass art storage vault at its heart houses part of WAG’s relevant art collection (which in total holds some 14,000 pieces), prominently showcased as a key architectural and display feature that draws the eye and interest of visitors. At the same time, seen from the street, the vault’s striking presence also attracts the attention of passers-by.

Starting to open its doors to visitors this week – starting with inviting members of the Indigenous community to see it first, today – Qaumajuq will throw its doors open to the wider public from 27 March. 

‘Qaumajuq builds on the WAG’s long history of collecting and exhibiting Inuit art and working closely with Inuit partners and stakeholders, guided by our Indigenous Advisory Circle,’ say the art centre’s representatives. ‘We aim to provide a platform for Inuit voices and ensure Inuit and all communities feel welcome and at home.’ §

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