🇨🇦 Winifred Nungak named Nord-du-Québec Artist of the Year

Press release from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

December 15, 2023

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The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) is pleased to award the Prix du CALQ – Artiste de l’année au Nord-du-Québec (the CALQ prize for Artist of the Year) to textile artist Winifred Nungak. The award, with an associated cash prize of $10,000, was given to her by Céline Lavallée, directrice du soutien aux artistes, aux communautés et à l’action régionale for the CALQ. A special ceremony was held during an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Salon des métiers d’art du Québec in Montréal, in cooperation with the Avataq Cultural Institute and Télé-Québec’s Fabrique culturelle.

“Winifred Nungak is a leader in the field of textile arts and a key figure in Indigenous fashion,” the CALQ jury members noted. “Her creative work combines traditional and contemporary techniques with exceptional quality. She is very much engaged in transferring her know-how to women and girls in Inuit communities and is making an outstanding contribution to regional cultural life.”

Winifred Nungak’s bio

Winifred Nungak is from Kangirsuk, Nunavik. She first learned to sew in elementary school and as a teen began creating her first atigiit (parkas). In 2013, she received a diploma in Fashion Design from LaSalle College Montréal, then honed her skills in Nunavik, where she founded her own brand, Winifred Designs. In her creations, she adds a touch of modernity to the traditional atigiit, adding colourful touches, leather, sealskin, and fur. Her work has been shown at many exhibitions, including the Northern Lights Trade Show in Ottawa, the Native Fashion Now Exhibition in New York, and Kwe! Meet with the Indigenous Peoples in Québec City.  The Governor General of Canada, Mary Simon, along with many Inuit organizations, have ordered her custom creations.

In addition to making atigiit, Winifred Nungak creates pualuit (mittens), nassaq (tuques), kamiit (boots), and headbands. A firm believer in the importance of continuing traditions from past generations, she transfers this ancestral knowledge by teaching Inuit women and girls to make parkas.

The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) invests in the imagination and celebrates the successes of those who create memorable works, shape Québec’s cultural identity, and make it shine. With a view to equitable, sustainable artistic development, the CALQ supports creation, experimentation, and production in the arts and literature in all regions of Québec and promotes dissemination in Québec, Canada, and abroad.

In awarding this prize, the CALQ pursues its objective of public recognition by showing support to creators who have distinguished themselves for the excellence of their work and their outstanding contribution to the vitality of Québec culture.

L’Institut culturel Avataq

The programs and services of the Avataq Cultural Institute include: an Inuktitut promotion and preservation program, a genealogy program, a Nunavik museums program, a Nunavik Inuit art collection, an archaeology department, an artists’ support program, a documentation and archives centre, local cultural committees, traditional skills courses, as well as a research and publications service.

La Fabrique culturelle

La Fabrique culturelle is Télé-Québec’s digital cultural platform. It draws content from Télé-Québec’s ten regional bureaus and some 100 cultural partners and community members. Its mission is to offer visibility to arts and culture by promoting Québec’s cultural identity throughout the province, mainly through the creative efforts of artists and artisans. La Fabrique culturelle is on Facebook , Instagram, lafabriqueculturelle.tv.

Originally published on 8 December by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

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