New Exhibit Opening At The Manitoba Museum This Saturday!

Due to popular demand, The Manitoba Museum’s Portraits of the North traveling exhibit will open in Winnipeg at the Museum’s Alloway Hall on Saturday, September 16th.

The public is invited to attend the official opening from 2-4 p.m. on October 14th, which will feature traditional Métis fiddle music, free refreshments, and the opportunity to meet the artist.

This renowned exhibit has travelled northern Manitoba to immense acclaim. Kuehl’s graphite pencil drawings of Aboriginal Elders go beyond mere portraits to capture his subjects’ very essence.

The challenges and triumphs of the experiences they have survived are clearly etched on their faces, making each portrait a stirring visual monument. The unbelievable artistry of Kuehl’s portraits, which are so realistic they seem to draw breath, inspires strong emotions in everyone who sees them.

“Everyone is really moved by this exhibit—it pulls the heart strings. Anyone who sees these drawings and reads the accompanying biographies is impacted by these individuals and their lives,” says Hanna Peters, Exhibits Manager for The Manitoba Museum. Peters oversaw the creation of Portraits of the North. “People need to know these stories.”

Capturing the portraits of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit elders from remote communities is a labour of love for the artist. Each of the 30 drawings took Kuehl between 75-100 hours to complete.

As a result, his portraits are startlingly realistic, and often mistaken for photographs.

“I absolutely love recording the elders’ stories, but I was surprised to discover other people loved them as much as I do,” Kuehl says. “When people read about what has happened in my subjects’ lives, they’re really affected by it. I’ve had many people tell me they’ve walked away from this exhibit a different person.”

The biographies are displayed in four different languages: Cree, Inuktitut, French, and English.

“This exhibit is visible proof of the strength of the human spirit,” Peters says. “It’s historically important, both visually and in the stories collected.”

If you’d like more information on Gerald Kuehl or his work, you can access his website at

Portraits of the North will be displayed in The Manitoba Museum’s Alloway Hall from September 16th until January 7th. It is free with regular Museum admission.

The support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through its Museums Assistance Program is gratefully acknowledged.

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