Excellent Additions of Inuit Art Donated to College Museum
November 9, 2020

The Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Art and Artifacts (MOAPAA) recently accepted a donation of 12 Inuit art pieces.

“We are immensely appreciative of the generous donation of Inuit works by Sheila Thompson and Jim Hawkins,” said Donna Feledichuk, Museum Director at Portage College. “The donated art works are excellent additions to our collection, and expand our opportunity to tell the story of Inuit Art in Canada.”

Thompson obtained her collection of Inuit art from 1994 to 1996 when she had a teaching position in Kugluktuk (formerly Coppermine), a hamlet located at the mouth of the Coppermine River in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut on Coronation Gulf, southwest of Victoria Island. The various art pieces include dolls, carvings, wall hangings and prints, and were primarily made with materials that were on hand at the time.

Dolls from Kugluktuk, 1995, Artist Unknown
Dolls from Kugluktuk, 1995, Artist Unknown

“I had the adventure of a lifetime in this fly-in community on Coronation Gulf. All these objects were created by local artists and artisans and capture a moment in time,” Thompson wrote when Portage College asked her about her donation.

Thompson was streamlining her possessions in her home this year and did not have room to display the collection properly. She wanted them to go to a good home but did not know where that might be until she learned about MOAPAA. “I knew I had found the right place,” she wrote. “Downsizing has its benefits, especially when objects can take on a new life. I am sure these pieces will be happy to be part of one of Canada's largest collections of Aboriginal art and artifacts.”

The pieces are currently being processed by the Museum and will be displayed in the Inuit Art exhibit at the Lac La Biche Portage College campus.

The Aboriginal Artifacts collection containing nearly 2000 Indigenous artworks and artifacts began as a teaching collection. In 1978, the acquired pieces were catalogued as an artifact collection.

Visitors to the museum will be able to enjoy a self-guided tour of Aboriginal art and culture. Guided group tours can also be accommodated with prior arrangements. The exhibits provide an in-depth look at North American Aboriginal Art from First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures. The Museum houses the only permanent collection in the world of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. (Daphne Odjig, Alex Janvier, Joseph Sánchez, Norval Morrisseau, Eddy Cobiness, Carl Ray and Jackson Beardy).

Media Inquiries:
Jaime Davies, Corporate Communications Manager 
780-623-5581 or email

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
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