• Feature

5 Places to Find Public Inuit Art

Aug 09, 2021
by Leanne Inuarak-Dall

As COVID-19 restrictions ease across the country, travel is becoming an option again for many people. While some museums remain closed, you can still immerse yourself in Inuit art and culture by visiting public artworks across the country for free! We’ve rounded up 5 stops to make on your next trip. 


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Left to right: Aija Komangapik 2 Women (2020) and Dayle Kubluitok Untitled (2020) Mural at Tungasuvvingat Inuit office, Ottawa, ON
COURTESY THE ARTIST AND TUNGASUVVINGAT INUIT

2 Women and untitled mural Ottawa, ON

Dive into the graphic world of Aija Komangapik and Dayle Kubluitok by taking a look at their murals featuring playful and tender portraits of Inuit in traditional clothing. In addition to their digital works that line the walls of the Ottawa headquarters of Tungasuvvingat Inuit, Komangapik also created a hand-painted mural for the office featuring her signature technicolour characters.


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Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley
and Ruben Komangapik Ahqahizu (2016) Granite sculpture at York University, Toronto, ON
COURTESY NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA PHOTO COZZ ZAMMITTI

Ahqazihu 
Toronto, ON

Weighing in at 26 tonnes is this incredible granite sculpture that depicts an Inuk soccer player high-kicking a bronze walrus skull. Artists Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley and Ruben Komangapik (father of Aija Komangapik mentioned above) took about 200 days to carve this monumental piece, which was unveiled at the York University sports stadium for National Aboriginal Day in 2016. This colossus is worth the trip!


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Glenn Gear
Iluani/Silami (2021) Hudson's Bay building on Portage Ave in Winnipeg, MB
COURTESY WINNIPEG FREE PRESS PHOTO RUTH BONNEVILLE

Iluani/Silami 
Winnipeg, MB

A host of arctic animals like caribou, seal and a polar bear looking up at the northern lights span the avenue of what was the Hudson’s Bay building in downtown Winnipeg, MB. Iluani/Silami which translates to “it’s full of stars” is an elaboration of a large-scale installation Glenn Gear created for the exhibition INUA across the street at WAG–Qaumajuq which explores mythology from Nunatsiavut. 


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Kablusiak
Things that both a relative you haven't seen in a long time and the river could say (2019) Engraving on stone at Wandering Island, Mohkinstsis (Calgary), AB
COURTESY WANDERING ISLAND PHOTO CAITLIND BROWN

Things that both a relative you haven’t seen in a long time and the river could say 
Calgary, AB

Based on the idea that water holds memory, Kablusiak (who was just shortlisted for the 2021 Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award) applies phrases in English and Inuvialuktun—translated by their mother—onto stepping stones in Elbow River in Calgary, AB. Visitors who cross the channel of water using this permanent artwork are encouraged to consider the relationship between humans, the water and time. 


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Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory
and Jamie Griffiths White Liar and the Known Shore: Frobisher and the Queen (2021) Photograph on vinyl at McBride Park in Vancouver, BC
COURTESY THE ARTIST 

White Liar and the Known Shore: Frobisher and the Queen 
Vancouver, BC

For the rest of summer 2021, be sure to stop by McBride Park in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC, to witness the collaborative work by Sobey Award shortlisted artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Jamie Griffiths. This large-scale banner features a powerful photograph that examines the colonial story of Iqaluit, NU, and challenges viewers to address their own role in Arctic colonization.