The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art Centre has a new name.
In a ceremony on Oct. 28, the gallery, known as WAG, announced the centre would be renamed Qaumajuq [HOW-ma-yourq], an Inuktitut word meaning “It is bright, it is lit”.
Qaumajuq is set to open in February 2021 after construction began in March 2018 on a new 40,000-square-foot-building designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture with Cibinel Architecture. It’s home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.
The WAG building itself was given a name in Anishinaabemowin—Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah [BEEN- deh-gen Bi-WAH-say-yah], meaning “Come on in, the dawn of light is here” or “the dawn of light is coming.”
The naming ceremony was hosted by Dr. Stephen Borys, director and CEO of WAG. The ceremony occurred with a small gathering of Borys and Julia Lafreniere, WAG manager of Indigenous Initiatives. A Qulliq lighting ceremony was conducted by Elder Martha Peet, with virtual appearances from Theresie Tungilik and Elder Dr. Mary Courchene. The latter two formally announced the new names in Inuktitut and Anishinaabemowin respectively.
Tungilik, an Inuk artist from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, said “Qaumajuq will be a place where all walks of life will experience, through the creation of Inuit art, our survival, hardships and resilience.”
Courchene, who comes from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, said the Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah name was created to “include all the Indigenous populations of Manitoba, the First Nations, the Métis, and the Inuit populations.”
“The language keepers and Elders came together in a powerful moment of cross-cultural reflection and relationship-building,” Borys said. “This initiative is an act of decolonization, supporting reconciliation and Indigenous knowledge transmission for generations to come in an effort to ensure WAG-Qaumajuq will be a home where Indigenous communities feel welcome. Where everyone feels welcome.”
In addition to the new name of Qaumajuq, which will serve as the primary name for the space, various areas within the WAG will also have new names in Inuvialuktun (Inuit), Nêhiyawêwin (Cree), Dakota, and Michif (Métis) that were given by Indigenous language keepers.
“Indigenous-focused and Indigenous-led initiatives will be at the heart of this new space and giving the spaces Indigenous names is just the start,” reads the WAG’s website where pronunciations and audio clips for the new names are available.
“We are thrilled to share the names of the spaces in the seven Indigenous languages of Manitoba and Inuit Nunangat,” said Dr. Heather Igloliorte and Dr. Julie Nagam, co-chairs of the Indigenous Advisory Circle for Winnipeg Art Gallery, in a joint statement.
“The Circle demonstrates the breadth of knowledge that represents the relationship to the collection and the buildings and it has been an incredible experience for all Circle members. We are so honoured to gift the institution with these new names that point to a new path forward for galleries and museums in this country,” the statement continued.
The WAG also states that the “historic naming responds to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 13 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 14i, both of which reference the importance of Indigenous languages.”
Article 13 reads:
Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
TRC Call to Action 14i states:
Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
A press release issued by WAG states that Qaumajuq “will innovate the art museum, taking art from object to full sensory experience with Inuit-led programming.” One of these features includes the three-storey tall column called the ‘visible vault’ that is filled with thousands of Inuit carvings and immediately viewable upon entry into Qaumajuq.
“This is a place that amplifies and uplifts Inuit stories, connecting Canada’s North and South. This is a site for reconciliation… We can’t wait to unveil this new cultural landmark in the heart of the country with these new names honouring Indigenous voices and languages,” Borys said.
Irina Antonova, head of top Moscow art museum, dies at 98 – Bowen Island Undercurrent
MOSCOW — Irina Antonova, a charismatic art historian who presided over one of Russia’s top art museums for more than half a century, has died at 98.
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts said Antonova, its president, died in Moscow on Monday. It said Tuesday that Antonova last week tested positive for coronavirus, which exacerbated her chronic heart ailments.
Antonova began working at the Pushkin museum after her graduation in 1945, and in 1961 she became its director. She held the job until 2013, when she shifted into the ceremonial post of its president. The 52-year tenure made her the world’s longest-serving director of a major art museum.
As the Pushkin museum director, Antonova spearheaded major art exhibitions that saw the exchange of art treasures between the Pushkin Museum and top international art collections despite the Cold War-era tensions and constraints. Those exchanges, facilitated by her extensive personal contacts with colleagues in the museum world, brought Antonova wide acclaim worldwide.
She also was very active in promoting the museum’s treasures to the public.
Antonova has received numerous Russian and foreign state awards.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the president often met Antonova at the museum and “highly appraised her deep expert knowledge.”
Antonova will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery alongside her husband, who also was an art historian. Funeral ceremonies will be closed to the public amid coronavirus restrictions.
The Associated Press
New Art Lending Program launched in Summerside – The Guardian
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —
A beautiful piece of art is known to stir the soul and give rise to an abundance of feelings and creativity, and for that reason it is hoped people will embrace the new art lending program in Summerside.
It is an initiative of Wyatt Heritage Properties Inc. (WHPI) in partnership with Culture Summerside and the Summerside Rotary Library.
For some time it has been an objective of WHPI and Culture Summerside, the city’s arts, heritage, and culture division of the City of Summerside, to bring to the community increased accessibility to original works of art by local visual artists. Not everyone is comfortable visiting an art gallery or can afford to own original works. Now, with a swipe of a library card, people can borrow artwork to grace their living space.
“We are really excited to be a part of this important project, which makes art accessible to the public,” said Rebecca Boulter, regional librarian with Summerside Rotary Library.
As part of the 2020 Summerside Arts Festival held in July, 20 local artists each created a framed five-by-seven inch original work for the new program. The artwork includes a number of mediums and subject matter. The variety will appeal to a wide spectrum of tastes. The plan is to grow the collection in the coming years.
Lori Ellis, of Wyatt Heritage Properties Inc. and Culture Summerside, is grateful for the funding support of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the City of Summerside in making the art lending program a reality.
“This is a wonderful venture that I hope the public will be inspired to embrace. As an artist myself, I know the joy that art brings to life. We are so excited to partner with the Summerside Rotary Library for it will enable the program to reach a large audience. Great partners build vibrant artistic communities.”
Acclaimed art scholar, ex-RISD president Roger Mandle dies – Toronto Star
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Roger Mandle, an internationally renowned art scholar and the former longtime president of the Rhode Island School of Design, has died, RISD said Tuesday. He was 79.
Mandle died over the weekend, the school said in a statement, without elaborating. A cause of death was not given.
Mandle served as president of RISD from 1993 to 2008. He was credited with helping modernize the school, one of America’s most prestigious four-year art colleges, and quadrupling its endowment to over $400 million. He previously served as deputy director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
A former member of the National Council on the Arts appointed by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Mandle helped shape and guide the U.S. art and design agenda.
“My mission, my vision, is to contribute to our humanity and quality of life and to make Providence and the Rhode Island School of Design a globally recognized centre of art, design and right-brained thinking,” he once said.
From 2008 to 2012, Mandle was executive director of the Qatar Museums Authority, overseeing more than a dozen museums, including the Museum of Islamic Art, the Qatar Natural History Museum and the National Museum of Qatar.
Later, he launched a consulting firm dedicated to assisting museums and universities in strategic planning, board and senior staff development and mentoring, and advice during important transitions.
He was a former director of the Toledo Museum of Art, a former associate director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and a member of the Ohio Arts Council.
“The American arts and higher education communities have lost a giant,“ Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island said in a statement, calling Mandle “an extraordinary man and a great civic leader.”
“His influence on generations of artists and others whose lives were made better through the arts will live on,” RISD President Rosanne Somerson said in a statement.
Mandle is survived by his wife, the abstract painter and acclaimed mixed media artist Gayle Wells Mandle; son Luke Mandle; daughter Julia Mandle; and five grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Tuesday.
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