The WAG’s Inuit art collection contains more than 11,000 works, including about 7,100 sculptures. It is the world’s largest public collection.
Since 1964, the WAG has organized 166 exhibitions featuring works by Inuit artists and hosted 22 shows organized by other museums and galleries.
In 1977, a major touring exhibition, The Inuit Print, organized by the Department of Indian and Northern Development and the National Museum of Man marked the first high-profile use of the term “Inuit” instead of “Eskimo.” The latter is now considered offensive.
On Oct. 17, 2012, Darlene Coward Wight, curator of Inuit art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery since 1986, received an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Manitoba in recognition of her “tireless dedication to preserve, promote and celebrate art by Canada’s Inuit.” Her coffee-table book, Creation and Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art, which includes essays by art historians, is available at the WAG shop. Plans are in the works to build an Inuit Art and Learning Centre to be connected to the WAG and built on the site of its studio building. Ground is expected to break on the 40,000-square-foot, $45-million centre in 2014.
Members of the Manitoba Urban Inuit Association are building two igloos, or “iglus,” on the WAG rooftop, next to an inukshuk by Nunavut-born artist Manasie Akpaliapik, to coincide with the exhibition Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art. The icy structures are approximately three metres wide and two metres tall. Inuit Film Night Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos