Qaumajuq (KOW-MA-YOURK) means “it is bright, it is lit.” The name celebrates the new building connected to the WAG and its crucial role of shining a light on Inuit culture.
The exhibit holds close to 14,000 authentic Inuit pieces, including: rock/bone carvings, tapestries, clothing, paintings, pictures, sculptures, and dolls.
“Some say Inuit art is dying. I don’t think so. I think it’s going to stay forever. The only way it will die is if we run out of rock.”– Natar Ungalaq
Why should you go?
Qaumajuq will take your breath away. The 185,000 square foot exhibition has 4 floors and 9 exhibits to explore, so you’ll probably want to max out the parking meter. It’s a must-see for Canadians who are looking to learn more about Canada’s Indigenous history.
When you walk into the entrance, there is a massive visible vault encased in glass. In the vault, there are roughly 4,000 stone carvings. One of the oldest carvings I saw was from the 1950s. Some of the items in the vault are below the ground level, which is to protect the pieces from eroding in the sunlight.
One of my favourite parts of Qaumajuq was the Inuk Style exhibit on the second floor. The parkas, moccasins, and gloves – are breathtakingly designed. The intricate beadwork on some of these pieces would have taken hours and will surely blow you away. This exhibit closes on October 21, so you’ve got just under 2 weeks left to see it if you haven’t.
My second favourite part of Qaumajuq is the Naadohbii (NAH-DOH-BEY): To Draw Water exhibit. It is filled with interactive media pieces that made the experience feel immersive and reflective. The WAG describes the gallery as a reflection, “on international Indigenous connections to water – spiritually, environmentally, socially, and culturally, looking into collective histories and fragilities of the future.” This exhibit just opened in August and will close in February 2022.
Overall, this exhibition is a must-see for Canadians! I also love how Qaumajuq is mostly wide open. Besides the visible vault at the entrance of the building, there aren’t a lot of pieces hidden behind glass or stanchions. It made me feel a lot more connected to the art I was looking at.
Where will I wander next? Follow to find out!
Tues-Thur: 11 AM – 5 PM
Fri: 11 AM – 9 PM
Sat/Sun: 11 AM – 5 PM
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