Canada’s Public Collections of Inuit Art

There are three significant public art galleries in Canada that exhibit sizeable collections of contemporary Inuit art. The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario; The McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinberg, Ontario and The Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba, all have used public resources and private donations to assemble exemplary Inuit art collections.

The National Gallery of Canada is home to a collection of 1,400 carving, prints and drawings. It began its collection in 1956 with the purchase of its first sculpture. Since then, through gifts and annual purchases, the National Gallery has amassed this collection which includes works from Inuit artists like Kenojuak Ashevak and Jesse Oonark.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection contains thousands of prints, drawings and carvings that comprise its own permanent collection and a long term loan of 100,000 pieces from the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Through a trust, the Winnipeg Art Gallery holds more than 13,000 works of contemporay Inuit art. It is the largest public collection of Inuit art in the world. To house and display this collection, the gallery has embarked on an ambitious plan to build 3,700 square metre space at the gallery. When it is built, it is anticipated the new Inuit Art Centre will become a cultural landmark in the city of Winnipeg for all to enjoy.

The MacDonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC) in Guelph, Ontario is home to a unique collection of Inuit drawings dating from 1960 to the present. Their collection exceeds 1,000 works that represent all Canadian arctic communities. After undergoing a renovation, the MSAC is reopened on September 17, 2015 as the Art Gallery of Guelph.

If and when you have the opportunity to visit Ottawa, Kleinberg, Guelph or Winnipeg, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore these wonderful Inuit art collections.

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Progress for the new Inuit Art Centre.

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