On September 5, 2018, the Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop (KCC) officially opened in Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU with a community gathering from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The event featured a prayer, flag raising, qulliq lighting, throat singing, official tours for the community and more. A country food feast with Inuktitut square dancing at Sam Pudlat School capped-off the festivities. The inaugural opening events will be followed by a reception from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday September 8, 2018.
Named after the acclaimed artist Kenojuak Ashevak, CC, ON, RCA (1927-2013), construction of the 10,400-square-foot, $10.2 million-dollar facility was completed in early March 2018 by architectural firm Panaq Design and contractors Kudlik Construction—both Iqaluit-based, Inuit-led companies. The KCC will include a state-of-the-art community facility, exhibition space and will house the Kinngait Studios.
The facility will also provide much-needed space for local artists as well as the display of artifacts. A multi-functional gathering space specifically for elders will support meetings and intergeneration encoders while permanent and temporary exhibitions spaces will present the rich artistic history of the area to visitors and locals with. The centre will also contain specialized infrastructure for printmaking and lithography in addition to a sculpture garden.
“This vital new facility will ensure that we continue to preserve and celebrate the unique Inuit culture of our region,” explains Kinngait mayor Timoon Toonoo.
Accompanying the opening are two exhibitions of never-before-seen works from the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative archives and permanent collection, curated by KCC manager Louisa Parr Pootoogook and Dorset Fine Arts marketing manager William Huffman, that will feature a survey of works on paper by Kenojuak Ashevak.
The project was made possible through a partnership between the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative and the Municipality who launched a capital campaign that raised over $13 million.