Some students getting creative to escape from their studies

By: Taylor Toews

Tuniigusiia/The Gift, by Goota Ashoona, on display outside the WAG at the corner of St. Mary Avenue and Memorial Boulevard./TAYLOR TOEWS

When Joelle Reimer needs a study break from her final year of university, she turns to art.

“It’s incredibly impactful to me as a student,” said Reimer, a political studies student at the University of Manitoba.

The 23-year-old said she spends her time away from her desk browsing various art galleries around Winnipeg.

“It allows me to expand the ways in which I can learn about others and the world around me.” 

During the pandemic, some students like Reimer have found it difficult to experience art in the same way while everything is locked down.

Now that cases have lowered and activities begin to start while using safety precautions, options are opening up again.

The new Qaumajuq Inuit Art Centre opened on March 25, giving students an escape from their books.

Videos created by artists like Glenn Gear, Geronimo Inutiq, and Zacharias Kunuk were projected on Qaumajuq’s exterior at the beginning of March to build anticipation for the grand opening. The new Centre, attached to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, also unveiled two new sculptures.

Celebrations for the inaugural year of Qaumajuq (pronounced KOW-ma-yourk or HOW-ma-yourk) officially began on Feb. 26.

“I think a lot of students find it hard to focus on anything other than school and tend to feel guilty when they’re not getting work done,” said Mackenzie Collette, 23, a University of Manitoba graduate. “So it’s important to have something that will distract you completely.”

According to studies done by Harvard Medical School, creative activities can aid in stress relief, depression, and anxiety through allowing one to express themself and their emotions.

“It’s absolutely stunning to watch the videos in motion against a building that’s already as beautiful as it is,” said Collette, who took advantage of the unusually warm March weather to see the show. “When I was a student, art was always my go-to for winding down from studying.”

The Winnipeg Art Gallery translates the meaning of the Inuktitut word Qaumajuq as “it is bright, it is lit”.

Students looking for a safe way to take their mind off of studies can visit the WAG to see the new main floor of Qaumajuq for free, or book their tickets to view the entire gallery.