Inuit art meets architecture – Saguenay exhibition winds up on Sunday

The Knowledge Sharing Centre in the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. The floor design is by Quebec artist Sammy Kudluk. The glass glazing design in the background is by Nunavut artist Ningiukulu (Ningeokuluk) Teevee. (A. Fradkin/Courtesy EVOQ Architecture)
An exhibition showcasing the art integrated into the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) will be winding up Sunday in the city of Saguenay, Quebec.

The show, titled Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Art, Architecture and Ancestral Knowledge, has been running at the Centre National d’Exposition (national exposition centre) since January 27.

CHARS, located in the Inuit community of Cambridge Bay in the northern territory of Nunavut, was designed by Canadian architecture firm EVOQ.

The firm invited Inuit artists from across the country to participate in a contest to design the public artwork in the building. A jury in Montreal then chose the winning submissions for each public art space.

Isabelle Laurier, an EVOQ architect and visual artist, oversaw the contest and ended up curating the “Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit” exhibit.

The exhibit includes the drawings submitted for each space, information on the winning design, along with biographical information on the artists and details on their communities.

A picture of the “Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Art, Architecture and Ancestral Knowledge,” exhibit at the Centre National d’Exposition in Saguenay, Quebec. (Courtesy Isabelle Laurier)

“The point is not just to see beautiful art, but also to understand the evolution of the art and learn more about the artists themselves, ” Laurier said in an interview at her office in Montreal.

Artists featured include Victoria Grey, Ulaayu Pilurtuut and Sammy Kudluk from Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec; and Tim Pitsiulak, Ningiukulu (Ningeokuluk) Teevee, Bobby Anavilok and Kuzy Curley from Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

New dates expected

The exhibition opened at La Guilde, a gallery in Montreal, in September 2017. Initially scheduled for only three months, it ended up running at the gallery for one year.

The Centre National d’Exposition is the exhibition’s second stop.

New dates for the travelling exhibition may be announced later on this year.

Construction on CHARS started in 2014.  Although still not officially completed, it is largely operational. The grand opening is expected later on this year.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Nunavut artist’s work unveiled on Parliament Hill, CBC News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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