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It's lit: Qaumajuq's Winnipeg opening aims to illuminate through world's largest Inuit art collection – CBC.ca

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The expansive lands and oceans of the far north feel a little closer to the Prairies as you round the corner of St. Mary Avenue and Memorial Boulevard in downtown Winnipeg.

A solid white wave of granite hangs above the glassed-in ground floor entrance of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s new Inuit Art Centre, or Qaumajuq.

It’s set to open on March 27, nearly three years after shovels hit the ground, and media were given a virtual tour on Thursday.

A group of Indigenous language keepers came up with the name Qaumajuq last year. It translates to “it is bright, it is lit” in Inuktitut — an apt description of the natural light that fills the space.

The lead curator of the inaugural exhibit says it was important the space truly reflect the spirit of the 14,000 pieces within and the people who made them — a departure from the colonial presentations common in other galleries and museums.

“When Inuit enter the building, we want them to feel like this is a space for them, that the artwork [is] to be curated for them and that they are the intended audience of the work, and up until now that hasn’t necessarily been the case,” said Heather Igloliorte, one of four Inuk curators who put together the opening display, INUA.

Due to pandemic restrictions, celebration ceremonies in the days before the opening will be scaled down.

The vault of vaults

Fewer people will get a look on opening day, but those who do will enter a 40,000-square-foot space that houses the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.

One of the first things visitors will see is a huge glass vault that stretches four storeys, from the basement to the ceiling, and encases a range of sculptures, carvings, dolls, paintings and more. Peer past those works and see conservators and curators doing research on the other side.

The vault at Qaumajuq houses thousands of works from across the north that will be visible the moment you walk in. (Lindsay Reid)

Construction began in May 2018. The project cost about $65 million, half of which came from all levels of government. Private donors and businesses made up the rest.

“It’s a culmination of an incredible processs,” said said Michael Maltzan, who won an international competition to design the building.

Capturing ‘limitless quality’ of Arctic

The main floor has a cafe and access to a revamped shop.

The space includes an 85-seat theatre and small classroom that allows youth from Winnipeg to connect virtually with peers in Pangnirtung or other Nunavut communities.

Ilipvik, or Learning Steps inside Qaumajuq, is an 85-seat theatre that doubles as a classroom that will connect people in Winnipeg virtually with those in northern communities. (Lindsay Reid)

Studios, research and library archives for working artists take up part of the second floor, where a corridor connects to the rest of the WAG.

Elevators and stairs lead up to the third-floor gallery with the largest North American display dedicated to contemporary Indigenous art.

There, visitors enter a space with nine-metre high ceilings. Staffs of sunlight shine down through 22 skylights.

Qaumajuq opens March 27. (Lindsay Reid)

Qilak, the main gallery of Qaumajuq on the third floor, includes 22 skylights that let in natural light from above. (Lindsay Reid)

Maltzan’s vision took shape after a trip to the north with WAG executive director Stephen Borys.

He was inspired by the vastness of it all. He wanted the endless horizons and open sea to shine through, while making the space accessible, inviting and honouring northern cultures.

“I remember him turning to me and saying, ‘How do you capture that limitless quality?'” said Borys. “I think he’s done it … through light, through space, through form.”

Why Winnipeg?

The fluid forms contrast with the late-modernist angles of the WAG, built in 1971.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s sharp edges contrast with the fluid shapes of the exterior of Qaumajuq. (Lindsay Reid)

There’s another obvious contrast: why build this particular monument to Inuit art thousands of kilometres from the north?

“I think it’s a perfect place,” said Borys.

He points to the geographical relationship between people of the north and those in Winnipeg. Many from remote communities regularly visit and receive medical care in the city. Our histories are aligned, and that shows through in the fact that the WAG has been collecting Inuit art longer than any other institution, he said.

That history started in the 1950s. Vienna-born WAG director Ferdinand Eckhardt purchased three small soapstone carvings that became the first pieces of the collection, said Borys.

Among the first works of Inuit art obtained by the WAG was Pinnie Naktialuk’s carving, Mother Sewing Kamik, which was acquired in 1957. Director Dr. Ferdinand Eckhardt wanted it for the collection, so the Women’s Committee — now Associates of the WAG — fundraised to purchase it. (Supplied by Winnipeg Art Gallery)

Ferdinand bought them across the street at the Hudson’s Bay building, a historic concrete space that was shuttered last fall.

The Bay played a major role in colonization, and some experts have suggested repurposing and reopening that building with reconciliation in mind.

Situating Qaumajuq in Winnipeg presents a similar opportunity to respond to historic human rights violations of all Indigenous people, laid out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to actions, said Borys.

“There’s just exciting possibilities where we can push, advance the idea of the museum and culture using art in a way for understanding reconciliation,” said Borys.

The Skeletoned Caribou by William Noah, from Baker Lake in 1974, includes coloured pencil on paper. It’s part of the WAG collection that was acquired through a grant from Hudson’s Bay Oil and Gas Company Limited. (Supplied by Winnipeg Art Gallery)

Julia Lafreniere, head of Indigenous initiatives at the WAG, says in the two days ahead of the March 27 opening, the public will have access to a virtual tour, and a ceremony filmed on Feb. 22.

Lafreniere said it isn’t ideal doing all this remotely.

But in time, the space will fill. Visitors will see carvings, sculptures and other items you could fit on a tabletop that are among the more widely recognizable forms of Inuit Art, along with a variety of newer works that push the limits of that convention.

Igloliorte expects the scale of the space will inspire a generation of Inuit artists to think big.

“The sky is the limit.”

The Winnipeg Art Gallery has a new wing dedicated to Inuit art, old and new. Qaumajuq, the Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, opens March 27. 2:07

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Adm. Art McDonald letter to senior military officials ‘shocking,’ says Gen. Eyre – Global News

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A letter sent by Adm. Art McDonald to senior military officials claiming he has been exonerated on an allegation of sexual assault and should be immediately reinstated is “shocking,” says Canada’s acting top soldier.

Gen. Wayne Eyre, acting chief of the defence staff, responded to the letter sent by McDonald in his own letter to senior staff, which was shared with Global News. McDonald was placed on indefinite leave by the government and is waging amid an increasingly public battle to return to the top post.

“We must remember that in a democracy the military is subordinate to our duly elected civilian leadership. This fundamental is paramount to our profession. I was asked to act as Chief of the Defence Staff on February 25, and I will continue in that role until told otherwise by our civilian leadership,” wrote Eyre in the letter on Friday.

“To that end, this shocking letter changes nothing with respect to our vital work of defending our nation, changing our culture, and preparing for the threats ahead.”

One defence official told Global News that McDonald neither consulted nor informed Eyre of his plans to send out the contentious letter.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement to Global News on Friday that the message sent by McDonald “is inappropriate and unacceptable.”

“In Canada, civilians provide necessary oversight of the military and decide who is best suited to lead the armed forces” Sajjan said. “McDonald’s email does not reflect this, nor does it reflect the need to put survivors and victims of sexual misconduct first.”

READ MORE: Adm. Art McDonald tells colleagues he’s exonerated, should return to top military post

In the letter obtained by Global News on Thursday, McDonald said he was “quite disappointed that my exoneration has not seen my return to duty” after military police declined to charge the admiral over alleged sexual misconduct in August.

Global News has previously reported the allegation is specifically one of sexual assault.

McDonald also argued his reinstatement is important to avoid “undermining the principles that must be foundational to legitimate cultural change” within the military, citing the need for fairness for both accusers and those accused of wrongdoing.

McDonald denied the allegation against him, and added that media reports were “often replete with hurtful sensationalism, innuendo and inaccurate characterizations.”

Two sources confirmed the letter, addressed to generals and flag officers of the Canadian Forces, was sent by McDonald and bore his signature.

READ MORE: Vance will not face military service charges; source cites his four-star rank

Military and political sources have said the lack of criminal charges against McDonald has not removed concerns about whether he has the moral authority to lead the military.

Global News learned in August that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service interviewed dozens of people as part of the probe into the allegation, but were unable to determine an agreed-upon set of facts, as many of those interviewed claimed to have been drunk at the time of the alleged sexual assault.

The Department of National Defence said at the time that its investigation “did not reveal evidence to support the laying of charges under either the Code of Service Discipline or the Criminal Code of Canada.”


Click to play video: 'No charges against defence chief Adm. Art McDonald following military investigation'



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No charges against defence chief Adm. Art McDonald following military investigation


No charges against defence chief Adm. Art McDonald following military investigation – Aug 6, 2021

“Adm. Art McDonald was not exonerated by the military police,” said Charlotte Duval-Lantoine, a fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute specializing in military culture.

“They could not meet the burden of proof to charge Art McDonald. That doesn’t mean that the allegations were false.

“It doesn’t mean that the victim was lying … so he cannot say that he was exonerated.”

Duval-Lantoine said she was “appalled” to hear of McDonald’s letter and noted it raises fresh questions around whether he holds the moral authority to govern the Canadian military.

“He’s determining for himself that he has the moral authority to gain back to the job of chief of the defense staff,” Duval-Lantoine explained.

“What he doesn’t realize is that it is not his decision to make. He’s not the one who needs to determine whether he has a moral authority. It is up to the government, and I would also argue that it is the determination of service members that would be under his command.”

IN HER WORDS: The woman behind McDonald allegation tells her story

Retired Lt.-Gen. Mike Day, former commander of Canada’s special forces, expressed similar concerns at the letter in a blog post on Friday as well, noting he and others are feeling “horror” at what is unfolding.

“Contrary to the Admiral’s claim and the start point of his argument, a failure to press charges, for whatever reason is not an exoneration, neither in form nor function. A decision not to proceed based on insufficient evidence neither exonerates nor condemns,” Day wrote.

“Exoneration can only come from those who govern the Admiral (ie MND / PM).”

Day noted that the position of chief of the defence staff is one that serves at the pleasure of the government, and said McDonald’s decision to pursue his campaign for reinstatement so publicly indicates one of several “concerning” possibilities: either he doesn’t understand how the process actually works, or he is “not targeting his return but rather any negotiations that might inform his release.”

“If the first instance such ignorance is disqualifying,” Day explained. “In the second there is a demonstration of a willingness to ignore the impact on Lt(N) [Heather] Macdonald as well as to continue to negatively impact the morale of the CAF for personal gain: This too is disqualifying.”


Click to play video: 'IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 1'



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IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 1


IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 1 – Mar 28, 2021

Macdonald told Global News previously that the decision by military police not to pursue any charges against McDonald left her feeling like she’d been “punched in the stomach.”

“I am not surprised as this was exactly why I was reluctant to come forward and why most survivors don’t come forward. It’s not worth it. I feel a little like I’ve gone through hell for nothing,” said Macdonald, a navy combat systems engineer who has served for 16 years.


Click to play video: 'IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 2'



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IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 2


IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 2 – Mar 28, 2021

Since McDonald’s letter became public, multiple women officers who have been victims of sexual misconduct told Global News they were deeply concerned by the tone of the letter and the message it sends to those who may want to come forward.

Former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish warned in June that it is “legally impossible” to charge senior military officials of McDonald’s rank under the military justice system.

Global News confirmed last month this finding had played a direct role in the decision by military police not to lay charges under the military system during a probe into McDonald’s predecessor.


Click to play video: 'Exclusive: Gen. Jonathan Vance won’t face any military service charges'



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Exclusive: Gen. Jonathan Vance won’t face any military service charges


Exclusive: Gen. Jonathan Vance won’t face any military service charges – Sep 15, 2021

Retired Gen. Jonathan Vance is facing allegations of inappropriate behaviour from two female subordinates, which were first reported on by Global News on Feb. 2.

He denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Read more:
Gen. Jonathan Vance charged with obstruction of justice after military investigation

Military police opened an investigation into the allegations shortly afterward and in July, charged him with one count of obstruction of justice for alleged conduct during the course of their investigation.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service handed the case over to the civilian criminal court system, but opted not to pursue any charges against Vance on the allegations of sexual misconduct through the military court system, citing the Fish report.

Since the allegations against Vance emerged, multiple senior military leaders have been removed from their positions or investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct, sparking what experts have called an institutional “crisis” and a reckoning for the Canadian Forces.

Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour was appointed by the government in April to lead an external, independent review tasked with providing recommendations on how best to create an independent reporting system for military sexual misconduct.

Global News has confirmed Arbour does not plan at this stage to issue any interim recommendations.

Read more:
Here’s what you need to know about the military sexual misconduct crisis

During the last session of Parliament, Liberal Anita Vandenbeld — who was parliamentary secretary to the defence minister — had said Arbour would be issuing interim recommendations so the government could implement them quickly.

“Throughout the process, she will provide interim recommendations that we can implement right away,” Vandenbeld said on May 10.

While Arbour’s appointment was announced in April, her contract to begin the review did not kick in until May 21, and she has 12 months from that date to complete her review, according to its terms of reference.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the military “still doesn’t get that survivors need to be at the centre and the unique priority of everything in regards to sexual misconduct and harassment in the military.”

“This is, again, a reminder of just how much work there is to do.”

When asked by Global News whether work on creating an independent reporting system for military sexual misconduct will begin this fall or winter, given Arbour’s recommendations aren’t due until next year, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office offered a brief response.

“I’ll refer you to DND on this matter.”

–With files from Global’s Mercedes Stephenson

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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National Fibre Art Exhibition comes to Woodstock – Woodstock Sentinel Review

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The path through life can take some unexpected turns.

Article content

The path through life can take some unexpected turns.

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Beginning Oct. 16, Crossroads, a brilliant display of quilts, felting, weaving and other fibre art from across Canada that embraces the vagaries of life will be showcased in Woodstock.

“Crossroads is a fitting theme, not only as the Grand National Fibre Art Exhibition embarks on its first touring exhibition, but as many of us have encountered personal, social and political crossroads this past year,” said Mary Reid, the director and curator of the Woodstock Art Gallery.

While hosted by the Woodstock Art Gallery, the Crossroads exhibit will actually be displayed  the Woodstock Museum National Historic Site.

“It’s been a long time coming since I first learned of the exhibition in 2018. I am so impressed with the exhibition. The organizing committee spans from coast to coast, so it’s very national in its scope,” Reid said.

“It is all volunteer based. It was so impressive to see how much they has been done in finding funding, as well as all of the heavy lifting involved to get this going.”

Juried by award-winning artists Tracey Aubin, Debora Barlow and Judy Villett, the exhibition features 48 fibre art pieces interpreting the Crossroads theme.

“This medium of fibre art crosses art and craft. There are some traditional quilt pieces, pieces with new media and 3D pieces. There is such a variety of creative techniques, imagery and skills, from abstract to realistic.”

The Grand National Fibre Art Exhibition was developed in 2003 to showcase the incredible creativity of Canadian quilt artists and has since expanded to include a wide variety of fibre art materials and technique.

Article content

​According to the Grand National Fibre Art Exhibition, Crossroads encourages observers to think of the people throughout history who have meet and acted on their own “crossroads.”

Living through the current pandemic, the theme of crossroads is particularly timely, Reid noted.

“When this was being planned, we had no idea of what the future would hold. Who would have ever known?” Reid said. “I would like to thank our colleagues at the Woodstock Museum for providing the space and resources to help share this meaningful exhibition with our community.”

Crossroads will be on view at the museum at 466 Dundas St. until Feb. 26, 2022.

A virtual artist webinar, hosted by the Woodstock Art Gallery in partnership with the fine art program at Fanshawe College, is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2022, at 3 p.m.

Registration details for the webinar will be shared on the gallery’s website.

bgeernaert@postmedia.com

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Adm. Art McDonald tells colleagues he’s exonerated, should return to top military post – Global News

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A letter sent by chief of the defence staff Adm. Art McDonald to top Canadian military officers claims he has been exonerated of allegations of sexual assault, and argues for his “immediate” return to the top military command post.

In the letter obtained by Global News on Thursday, McDonald says he is “quite disappointed that my exoneration has not seen my return to duty” after military police declined to charge the admiral over alleged sexual misconduct in August.

He also argues his reinstatement is important to avoid “undermining the principles that must be foundational to legitimate cultural change” within the military, citing the need for fairness for both accusers and those accused of wrongdoing.

Two sources confirmed the letter, addressed to generals and flag officers of the Canadian Forces, was sent by McDonald, whose signature appears on the letter.

Read more:
Sajjan says he expects McDonald to stay on leave ‘while we review this situation’

Global News has reached out to the Department of National Defence for comment.

McDonald goes on to detail how his actions in response to the allegation, including stepping aside as chief of the defence staff in February, was meant to “enable a rigorous and thorough examination,” and was “out of respect for the courage it takes to make a complaint.”

“My dismay with the current situation is, of course, aggravated by the fact that, from the moment I was informed that an allegation had been made against me, I have acted with the integrity and compassion that you would expect of your Admiral,” he wrote.

“Therefore, I assert that my leadership is now proven stronger than ever.”

Multiple women officers who have been victims of sexual misconduct told Global News they are deeply concerned by the tone of the letter and the message it sends to those who may want to come forward.

READ MORE: Vance will not face military service charges; source cites his four-star rank

Former Supreme Court justice Morris Fish warned in June that it is “legally impossible” to charge senior military officials at McDonald’s rank under the military justice system.

Global News confirmed last month this finding had played a direct role in the decision by military police not to lay charges under the military system during a probe into McDonald’s predecessor.


Click to play video: 'No charges against defence chief Adm. Art McDonald following military investigation'



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No charges against defence chief Adm. Art McDonald following military investigation


No charges against defence chief Adm. Art McDonald following military investigation – Aug 6, 2021

Despite insisting he did “all (he) could to ensure allegations were fairly considered,” McDonald does not mention in the letter what he told the Globe and Mail in an interview earlier this week: that he did not sit for an interview with military police investigators.

He told the Globe that he was willing to do an interview, but declined to do so based on the advice of his lawyers after investigators did not disclose details of the allegations or identify his accuser.

McDonald writes in the letter that he is “concerned” that he has yet to hear anything further from the Department of Defence or the Prime Minister’s Office since the military declined to bring charges.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in August that he expects McDonald to remain on leave while the government “review(s) this situation.”

Read more:
Military police will not charge Adm. Art McDonald after sexual misconduct probe

That was in response to a statement from McDonald’s lawyers that claimed he would be returning to his post as chief of the defence staff, while also claiming their client had been exonerated.

Military and political sources have said the lack of criminal charges against McDonald has not removed concerns about whether he has the moral authority to lead the military.

Global News learned in August that the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service interviewed dozens of people as part of the probe into the allegation, but were unable to determine an agreed upon set of facts, as many of those interviewed claimed to have been drunk at the time of the alleged sexual assault.

The Department of National Defence said at the time that its investigation “did not reveal evidence to support the laying of charges under either the Code of Service Discipline or the Criminal Code of Canada.”

The woman behind the allegation told Global News then that the decision left her feeling like she’d been “punched in the stomach.”

“I am not surprised as this was exactly why I was reluctant to come forward and why most survivors don’t come forward. It’s not worth it. I feel a little like I’ve gone through hell for nothing,” said Navy Lt. Heather Macdonald, a navy combat systems engineer who has served for 16 years.


Click to play video: 'IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 1'



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IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 1


IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 1 – Mar 28, 2021

Macdonald has previously said details of her allegation had been leaked to media without her consent, and she told Global News in March she did not want to share those details publicly out of respect for the due process owed to both her and McDonald as the probe played out.

She granted Global News permission to share the details of her allegation publicly, which she said pertained to unwanted touching on board HMCS Montreal in July 2010, when the ship was docked in Nuuk, Greenland.

During a party with allied military on board the ship, Macdonald alleges McDonald shoved the face of the ship captain into her breasts after a button on her shirt popped open.

McDonald was task force commander at the time of a group made up of warships from the U.S., Denmark and Canada. The captain was Macdonald’s commanding officer.

In his letter, McDonald denies the allegation against him, and adds that media reports were “often replete with hurtful sensationalism, innuendo, and inaccurate characterizations.”


Click to play video: 'IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 2'



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IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 2


IN HER WORDS: The woman behind the Adm. McDonald allegation tells her story Pt. 2 – Mar 28, 2021

Multiple senior leaders including McDonald’s predecessor, now-retired Gen. Jonathan Vance, stand accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour in what experts have described as an institutional “crisis” for the military.

Vance denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour first reported by Global News on Feb. 2.

In the months since, the military sexual misconduct crisis has sparked twin parliamentary committee probes that heard blistering testimony about both the government’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations as well as the systemic problems in the military that have allowed it to continue.

Witnesses who have testified during those parliamentary committee probes this spring warned repeatedly that women and men who come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces frequently face retaliation from superiors and peers.

—With files from Amanda Connolly and Marc-André Cossette

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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