Cape Dorset’s Kenojuak Cultural Centre and gallery to open in September

Kinngait Studios is about to get a new home


Cape Dorset’s new Kenojuak Cultural Centre is set to open in September. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KENOJUAK CULTURAL CENTRE)

Cape Dorset’s new Kenojuak Cultural Centre is set to open in September. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KENOJUAK CULTURAL CENTRE)

Cape Dorset is getting a new state-of-the-art community centre and exhibition space for Inuit art in September.

The municipality of Cape Dorset and the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative will open the doors to the new Kenojuak Cultural Centre on September 5. This cultural facility will also be the new home of Kinngait Studios―an Inuit art powerhouse since the 1950s.

The doors will officially open with a community gathering on Wednesday, Sept. 5 from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. Then, on Saturday, Sept. 8, there will be a reception from noon until 5 p.m.

The Kenojuak Cultural Centre will open with two exhibitions showing never-before-seen works of art from the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative archives and permanent collection. Both exhibitions are co-curated by the centre’s manager, Louisa Parr, and William Huffman from the co-operative.

The Work of a Lifetime series by Kenojuak Ashevak is the largest survey of Ashevak’s creative output ever presented in the Canadian Arctic. The Cape Dorset community has also been invited to contribute personal objects, musings and anecdotes to illustrate the role Ashevak played in the region.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of public talks and film screenings.

Age of Stone: a History of Cape Dorset Carvings is the other exhibit on show. It examines the cultural significance of carving in Cape Dorset, from its ancient roots to the present. This exhibition mines the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative permanent collection and will feature rare sculptural works by Kenojuak Ashevak. Complementing the exhibition is a series of demonstrations and workshops conducted by local sculptors.

As a partnership between the co-operative and municipality, the Kenojuak Cultural Centre received support from both the public and private sector. A successful fundraising campaign generated more than $13 million, according to a news release.

An advisory committee to oversee centre’s direction was formed in January 2018. It represents the centre’s two key partners and meets twice a month.

The committee recently hired the centre’s first manager, Louisa Parr.

“The creation the Kenojuak Cultural Centre has been a longtime goal for our organization,” said West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative President Pauloosie Kowmageak in a news release.

“This facility will bring together our community and welcome visitors with its exhibitions and programs that will celebrate Dorset’s unique Inuit cultural heritage.”

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