WINNIPEG , March 16, 2021
As part of the celebration of our province’s 150th anniversary, the Manitoba 150 Host Committee is partnering with the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) to bring Inuit art to communities across the province this summer. This exciting Manitoba 150 legacy project will also continue beyond 2021, featuring diverse artwork from the WAG collection.
Tour 150 presented by Manitoba’s Credit Unions features a retrofit van that will be curated year over year and travel across the province to communities and schools for years to come. Named Nakatamaakewin [na-kah-tah-MAA-kaywin] a Michif name gifted by Language Keeper and Elder Verna Demontigny meaning “to leave something behind”, Tour 150 honours the homeland of the Métis nation and offers the flexibility to leave behind inspiration and learning from many cultures in future years.
“Through Tour 150, and in celebration of the opening of Qaumajuq, the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s new Inuit art centre, Manitoba 150 is delighted to work with our partners to share Inuit art, stories in Inuit voices, and Inuit contributions with Manitobans across the province. With Tour 150: Nakatamaakewin – Bringing art to you! we extend that legacy by leaving behind a program that provides opportunities for growth and understanding for years to come. Isn’t that what art is all about?” said Monique LaCoste and Stuart Murray, co-chairs of Manitoba 150.
In its inaugural year, Tour 150 hits the road in May in celebration of Qaumajuq, the new Inuit art centre at the WAG. The experience helps weave the story of Inuit contributions to our province’s culture, history, people, and beauty. Local Inuit artist Kailey Sheppard created an artwork that wraps the vehicle in bright colours, creatures, and landscapes that connect to Manitoba.
“The WAG is thrilled to take part in Manitoba 150 celebrations by engaging with communities across the province through art. We are grateful to Manitoba’s Credit Unions, Birchwood Automotive Group, the Government of Manitoba, and the Manitoba 150 team for helping us bring art and learning to all Manitobans in this fun new way. We also thank Elder Demontigny for sharing the Nakatamaakewin name, which embodies exactly what this partnership is all about, leaving behind the power of art. And how amazing is it to give a taste of Qaumajuq during its inaugural year? We look forward to hitting the road, and you won’t miss us thanks to artist Kailey Sheppard!” said Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO.
Tour 150: Nakatamaakewin – Bringing art to you! incorporates both in-person and online components such as:
● an interactive experiential exhibit that will be switched up on a regular basis
● the first exhibit, launching this summer, features contemporary art and artists from the four regions of Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada through prints, textiles, stone sculptures, along with audiovisual stories and Inuit voices,
● educational resources on Inuit art and culture, and
● engaging information about Manitoba 150.
Natamaakewin will remain an asset to the community after the Manitoba 150 celebrations finish, ensuring that the legacy of art education for all Manitobans continues into the future.
“For over a century, the iconic Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) has invited visitors to explore and appreciate the wonders of art. This mobile exhibit will allow more Manitobans to experience the remarkable, world-class Inuit artistry created here in Canada,” said Cathy Cox, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage. “It will inspire them to visit Qaumajuq, WAG’s new Inuit Art Centre, a magnificent gallery that will showcase exquisite Inuit artworks, and promote inter-cultural appreciation and understanding.”
The Tour 150 van is wrapped in the beautiful art of Inuit multidisciplinary visual artist Kailey Sheppard. Sheppard uses their art as a way to connect with and learn about their Inuit culture. Sheppard hopes their art generates a crisp energy that bounds with enthusiasm. Depicting life in the North, one side of the Tour 150 van shows a polar bear walking on the Manitoba tundra. Sheppard found polar bears to be an excellent bridge between Manitoba and Inuit culture, seeing as Manitoba is the polar bear capital and polar bears hold an important significance in Inuit culture. The other side features a caribou, also connected to Inuit culture, and a “river edge to represent the many lakes and rivers in Manitoba.” In honour of the Nakatamaakewin name, flowers evoke elements of Métis artwork and tracks from animals represent something left behind.”
Tour 150 presented by Manitoba’s Credit Unions will travel across Manitoba starting this May through September to bring an inspiring collection of Inuit art directly to community and schools.
“The co-operative principles that inspire all credit unions call on us to support and strengthen the communities we serve,” said Garth Manness, CEO of Credit Union Central of Manitoba, “and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our province’s 150th anniversary than with this sponsorship of Tour 150.
“This tour will have a positive impact on thousands of Manitobans in communities of every size,” he said. “That’s something credit unions can relate to, as it’s what we strive to do every day.”
“We’re particularly pleased that the project centres on Inuit art and honours the Métis nation — which makes this a tremendous opportunity to not only experience some extraordinary art, but to be challenged to learn and grow through the encounter.”
This fully-accessible exhibition, with vehicle support from Birchwood Automotive Group, is designed to be flexible and adapt to various health and safety guidelines determined by the Manitoba Government. Program plans will adjust according to regulations.
Communities are invited to express their interest in having Tour 150 visit their community at wag.ca.