The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) Inuit Art Centre revealed its new name during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday called Qaumajuq, which is Inuktitut for “It is bright, it is lit,” celebrating the light that flows into the new building.
This will be the first time a major art institution will carry an Indigenous name in Canada.
It is expected to open next year in February. Admission to the Qaumajuq will be free for all Indigenous people.
“We understand that the history of our Inuit art collection is tied to colonialism in North America,” said Stephen Borys, the gallery’s director and CEO during the ceremony.
“At the WAG through exhibitions, programs and events, we strive to shed light on this history and bring Inuit voices to the forefront through art and storytelling.”
The new 40,000 square-foot building will connect to the WAG on all four levels. Space will include a stunning exhibition, learning and event spaces, a revamped shop, as well as a new café on the main level.
Qaumajuq’s central feature will be the Visible Vault, a three-story high shelf glass display that holds over 5,000 Inuit stone carvings.
To add, the WAG was also bestowed an Anishinaabemowin name during the ceremony. The gallery was given the name Biindigin Biwaasaeyaah which means “Come on in, the dawn of light is here” or “The dawn of light is coming.”
“We see these names as steps along our path into integrating and honouring Indigenous knowledge. The names also reflect the fundamental and critical journey the gallery has been on,” said Borys.
“Indigenous language will have a real, powerful and permanent presence throughout the WAG campus now and in the future.”
These names were decided a group of Indigenous language keepers and Elders as well as the co-chairs of the WAG Indigenous Advisory Circle, Dr. Julie Nagam and Dr. Heather Igloliorte.
The language keepers represent the four regions of Inuit Nunangat including the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut. As well, the language keepers represent the Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Dakota and the Metis Nation.
The naming initiative responds to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 13 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action 14i.
“This naming initiative is significant because as many Indigenous people know, naming and names is a very important aspect of our culture,” said Julia Lafreniere, WAG manager of Indigenous Initiatives.
“A name is something you will carry around your whole life and often precedes you and explain who you are to the world. It carries honour and teachings. I am very proud that the WAG is embracing this tradition.”
Theresie Tungilik, a language keeper with the WAG’s Indigenous Advisory Council noted that the Qaumajuq will be a place where all walks of life will experience through the creation of Inuit art of our survival, hardships and resilience.
She added that she was honoured to be able to be part of the process for choosing the new name for the centre.
Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Western News – Western cadre key to computational art in Canada – Western News
In the history of computational art in Canada, a group of forward-thinking artists and technicians at Western played a starring role.
The results of their collaborations and musings are currently on display at Western’s McIntosh Gallery, as part of the exhibit, Computational Art in Canada, 1967-1974.
The show’s specific time period speaks to an age when the applications of information technology lived not in our pockets, but in the minds of the few who had access to large mainframe computers.
“This is the chapter before people ordinarily think of computer or computational art, with Western being one of a handful of universities across Canada to house a mainframe computer during that time,” said Adam Lauder, guest curator of the exhibit.
Lauder, a sessional instructor at OCAD University, recently finished a postdoctoral fellowship at York University focused on the origins of computational art in Canada. His cocurator, Mark Hayward, is an associate professor in the department of communications studies and associate dean of graduate studies at York University who studies culture and technology.
Their exhibit is the first to chronicle Canada’s contributions to first-generation computer art through a vast array of animated films, plotter drawings, digital paintings and computer-generated silk-screen prints. It also includes language-based experiments by London artist Greg Curnoe and the work of experimental filmmaker (and Western emeritus professor) Alexander Keewatin (“Kee”) Dewdney. Both highlight the interdisciplinary collaborations between artists and researchers, facilitated by John Hart, the first chair of Western’s department of computer science.
“Hart was an absolute visionary and instrumental in bringing a number of important artists to Western, where they then experimented with what was very rare, and possible at that time with mainframe computers,” Lauder said.
“This art often required the assistance and support of technicians and engineers who would do some of the programming, before the time of graphical user interface or anything that was user-friendly.”
It was also a time when the field of computer science was dominated by “white, straight men,” Lauder said, “making the inclusion of Montreal artist Suzanne Duquet’s work in even more interesting.”
Duquet was a painting professor at the L’Université du Québec à Montréal whom Hart met at a conference at York University in 1971. He invited her to come to Western, where she spent two summers as an artist-in-residence.
“She is such an exceptional figure,” Lauder said. “Because the technology was so complex, computer artists needed the help of engineers. She is one of the few artists that learned to code. Her paintings are based on programs she wrote herself.”
Other pieces in the show extend beyond those created by computer.
“There are works by artists thinking about computing in a larger sense ─ how it affects society and our thinking and behavior,” Lauder said, referencing Vera Frenkel’s pioneering series of teleconferencing performances which foreshadow the internet and social media.
“That really connects to the present day, whether you’re a computer scientist or someone who just works in front of a laptop, it touches us all,” Lauder said.
The exhibit runs until December 12. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, guests must book their visit in advance. Lauder and Hayward’s lecture on the exhibit was recently recorded as part of Western’s department of visual art’s Art Now! speakers series.
Japanese art show seeks submissions from young local artists – Sooke News Mirror
Young local artists have a chance to present their work in Japan.
The Hamada Children’s Museum of Art in Japan seeks visual arts submissions from artists 5 to 15-years-old living between Sooke and Port Renfrew. There is no cost to enter.
The student art will be featured in the 2021 Independents Show in Hamada.
The museum will choose only a select number of pieces from Canada. If successful, original art will be on display and remain permanent at the Hamada Children’s Museum in Japan.
The winning artists will also receive a certificate of participation and their work featured online during the 24th Annual Independents Global Exhibition on Jan. 16.
The deadline for submissions is Dec. 10. For more information, please contact Diane Moran by email at email@example.com.
Language and art: new semiannual online program launches at the Ellen Art Gallery – Concordia University News
The Ellen Art Gallery recently launched a new semi-annual, online program. Each instalment of Terms will investigate the manifold meanings of a given word. The program is tripartite, featuring three components.
For the first component, the selected term will be explored in a short essay by a researcher working outside of the visual arts. He or she will examine the term through a particular lens, reflecting on the nuances, ambiguities, and plural meanings of the term.
For the second component, Gallery curator of research and program leader Julia Eilers Smith will pair the term with an existing artwork.
In the final component, a writer from the cultural sector will produce another short essay. Using the artwork as a point of departure, and drawing on the first essay, the writer will further explore various dimensions of the term and its significances.
Each term will be twice presented in this tripartite form — twice in the given year — before another term is selected for the following year.
Terms investigates how various, polysemic meanings are sedimented in words, how terms are disseminated, and how they alter public discourse.
The first edition of Terms explores the term Vulnerability.
Writer, researcher, community organizer, and activist Mostafa Henaway explores the term ‘vulnerability’ in relation to his work with migrants.
“If there is a term,” he writes, “that evokes a spirit of our moment, it is ‘vulnerability.’”
Henaway depicts our ambivalent notions of vulnerability. The term can sometimes evoke empathy for migrants that are struggling. But ‘vulnerability’ is sometimes considered in terms of the apparent ‘natural’ limits of a person or organism. We see vulnerability as a person’s natural susceptibility to inevitable assaults from the outside.
Henaway makes a case for other conceptions of vulnerability that allow it to be understood as something largely created through our own constructed political, economic, and social world.
He uses this notion of created “structural vulnerability,” exploring how various policies create adverse and exploitive conditions for migrant workers.
Henaway’s essay is followed in the program by a short 1960s film by Canadian artist Joyce Wieland, Hand Tinting.
Arts writer Yaniya Lee develops the exploration of vulnerability through a reflection on the film.
Forming a continuity with the theme of labour, the film is comprised of leftover footage produced by Wieland when she worked at a youth employment training center. The center aimed to teach employable skills to disadvantaged youth.
“Wieland’s task,” explains Lee, “was to film cutaways of the participants during downtime, allowing the recruitment documentary to show the centre’s atmosphere.”
When the company rejected Wieland’s documentary, she made her own film using some of the footage. The film is hand-tinted and perforated in places with a sewing needle.
In her own account of the experience, Lee writes, Wieland was moved by the somewhat pitiful circumstances of the young, mostly black women, while also inspired by their courage and willingness to invest in themselves.
Lee uses the film to reflect on the use of vulnerable subjects as the ‘content’ of film and works of art.
“Wieland ‘got’ the footage to make this film from a paid job; the girls she filmed were at a training centre seeking new opportunities,” Lee points out. “What does it mean to use other people’s bodies as matter” for a work of art?
Lee expresses her mix of admiration and distrust for Wieland’s work, wondering whether Wieland has advocated for vulnerable women or whether she has exploited them.
Lee concludes with a reflection on the relation between subject and work, this time questioning her own vulnerability as the writer making a subject of Wieland’s art.
The second posting of Terms will be launched in late January, 2021, examining vulnerability from another viewpoint.
Find out more about the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia.
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