Looking Up explores the influence that the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit Art collection has had on Winnipeg’s art community over the past 40 years. With all of the international attention the Winnipeg art scene has been receiving, people have been asking “What’s in the water there?” Up until now, the default response has been, "a combination of isolation and a strong arts community", but there must be more. Other Canadian cities share these qualities and conditions, but arguably don’t produce the same quantity or quality of artists per capita. So what really makes Winnipeg different? As part of the WAG’s Centennial exhibition program, Paul Butler, Curator of Contemporary Art, selected a spectrum of local artists who have exhibited this influence in their work. They were then invited to produce new work in response to the WAG’s Inuit collection – the largest collection of its kind in the world. Through a series of informal visits to the vault, they made their selections which will be displayed alongside their own work.
What results is an exhibition of connections between two art communities with an idiosyncratic history who mythologize, share stories, tell jokes and capture their landscapes through the common language of art. Looking Up not only geographically ‘looks up’ to the North, but in homage as well.