Nuuk Art Museum

By Verified Expert

Bright, friendly rooms lure both the light and the visitors into Nuuk Art Museum. Children and young people also come here to learn to use art as more than just passive viewers

The green facade of the old church that now is Nuuk Art Museum

Nuuk Art Museum bids welcome with interesting rooms that host changing exhibitions. Some of the pieces have been moved several times to their current location. This helps to create variation in the permanent exhibition, where Nuuk Art Museum, unfortunately, do not have space to have all the works the museum owns on show all the time. 

Previous church
The building was previously an Adventist church so there is still a small steeple on the building. The 650 m2 of the art museum consists of an old part and a new extension which gives a good combination of old art in the permanent exhibition and changing exhibitions with new, modern artists. 

Permanent exhibition
In the new permanent collection, there is an extensive selection of older art, with works by such artists as Emanuel A. Petersen. Furthermore, there are works of Harald Moltke, I.E.C. Rasmussen and Christine Deichmann. The museum also has newer works of artists like Miki Jacobsen, Frederik »Kunngi« Kristensen, Buuti Pedersen, Anne-Birthe Hove, Maria Panínguak` Kjærulff and Lisbeth Karline Poulsen.

Huge collection
In all, the collection at Nuuk Art Museum consists of more than 300 water colors, drawings, graphic works and paintings as well as 400 figurines by Greenlandic artists in soapstone, bone, wood and ivory.  

Inuits sailing in traditional kayaks in the fjord in Greenland

Fantastic gift
Nuuk Art Museum is run by Sermersooq municipality and today it is Greenland’s largest art museum. The building and most of the works were donated by the Danish-Greenlandic couple Svend and Helene Junge. Ever since Svend’s arrival in Greenland in 1940s, the couple had bought Greenlandic art, literature, postage stamps and the like.

Donation of a lifetime
After a long working life, they thought their collection should benefit more people and they donated the museum in 2005 as a gift to Greenland in general and to Nuuk in particular. Portraits of Svend and Helene Junge, painted by the artist Christian Rosing »Nuunu« in 2000, decorate therefore the entrance to Nuuk Art Museum. 

Portraits of Svend and Helene Junge painted by Christian Rosing Nuunu in 2000

Three leaf clover
In addition to the museum, there are two other attractions connected to Nuuk Art Museum. Niels Lynge’s House, which contains the estate of Niels Lynge, a famous Greenlandic vicar, poet and artist who also was the father of »painter of light« Hans Lynge. The interior of the house is in the style of 1960s houses in Greenland and it also has several paintings painted directly onto the wall. 

Art work presented in Nuuk Art Museum, a beaten woman bleeding from her eyes and nose

Nuuk’s town museum
The newest branch of the museum is Nuuk’s town museum which will open in the summer of 2016 in the old shipbuilding yard in the old colonial harbor. The museum will exhibit artifacts, photos, and paintings that tell the story of the town of Nuuk. 

Both smaller and larger pieces of art are presented in Nuuk Art Museum

The art museum of the future
The museum has a retreat with two small rooms where artists can come to live while they exhibit here. The other room is for Nordic artists who work while they are here when their »production« has a connection to Nuuk. 

Continued changes
For 10 years, the museum was just as Svend Junge left it. Now, the museum is allowed to expand the concept and do more. The vision is to make changes with respect to the original gift from Helene and Svend Junge. It is necessary to make changes, to get people to keep coming back to the museum and it is nice to see that it is working. This means, among other things, eight new exhibitions each year, often in cooperation with Greenlands cultural house »Katuaq« with joint exhibitions.

Exhibitions at the museum lure both children, young people, old people and everyone in between

A museum for everyone

Everyone can use the museum; children, young people, old people and everyone in between. It is much more fun to do something when there is a reaction – for the artist as well. It is more fun to create a museum that is in dialog with the public. 

There is no tradition for museums to have any influence on people in Greenland. By involving the children, we hope to start a kind of »upbringing« so they learn that art museums are interesting. Visits to art museums are not, for example, part of the school curriculum. Formerly, there could be perhaps an unplanned visit during a free period. Now, the schools come in and work here with subjects via art, which has already resulted in a fantastic reaction from the schools. The art school and the high school’s art students come here to do different courses, she explains. 

  • It is wonderful that we can influence someone to develop their relationship to art. Both with regard to works that are nice to look at, but also works of art that make a contemporary statement 
  • We want people to relate to handicrafts contra the visual arts. Where does the line go? When is something art? 
  • The most exciting thing is to see people’s reactions to what the museum is doing. I am sure that Nuuk Art Museum is looking at an exciting future, ends a super enthusiastic Nivi Christensen.

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