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Thousands of Kinngait works of art soon to be viewable online

Nunatsiaq | July 05, 2023

Categories: news

Thousands of Kinngait works of art soon to be viewable online

Iningat Ilagiit digitizaion project nearing completion, receives $430,000 to upload final pieces

Thousands of celebrated works by Kinngait artists, such as this untitled print by Kenojuak Ashevak, will soon be digitized and available to view online for the first time through the Iningat Ilagiit online database project. (Image courtesy of the Collection of West Baffin Co-operative Ltd.)

By Madalyn Howitt

This article was updated July 5 at 12:15 p.m.

The job of digitizing thousands of Kinngait art pieces is nearly complete.

Approximately 100,000 prints, drawings and photographs are being digitized for the Iningat Ilagiit (A Place for Family) project, an interactive online database to showcase decades worth of Inuit art.

The physical pieces are housed in the Kinngait Archive at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, an art gallery just outside of Toronto.

Once their digitization is completed, it will be the largest collection of Inuit art in the world to be made publicly accessible virtually, according to Pauloosie Kowmageak, the president of West Baffin Cooperative.

“The goal was to make it readily available to more people today with the internet,” he said.

“People [can] access it a lot easier, [and] that way we could try to get more exposure for the history of Kinngait art.”

Many of the Kinngait Archive pieces date back as far as 1959.

A spokesperson for the gallery said the project will be complete by the fall. Many of the works are already uploaded and visitors to the online gallery can save images to create their own exhibition.

Information about the works will also be available in Inuktitut, English and French.

The digitization project got underway nearly four years ago and includes text descriptions of some artworks written by Kinngait high school students.

It is funded through Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program, which recently provided $430,970 to digitize the remaining 66,000 works.

Kowmageak said project leaders hope that providing wider access to Kinngait’s art online will encourage youth and young artists to learn the history of Kinngait’s famed printmaking and to continue creating Inuit art.

“It’s always an important issue for us to try to [get] generations to continue on,” he said.

The gallery will also be a helpful resource for students in Inuit communities who will get increased access to Nunavut’s art history.

The project includes prints by well-known artists like Kenojuak Ashevak and Pudlo Pudlat.

Kowmageak in particular loves the pieces that depict traditional Inuit ways of life, such as hunting on the land.

“It’s important that the community of Kinngait is aware of the history of it,” he said.

“They could learn more from their late grandparents and [older] generations just to get an idea what kind of talent those elders had in the past. That’s an important thing that we want to get across.”

The Iningat Ilagiit project is available online at

This article was updated to note the digitization project will be completed by this fall.

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