03/03/2016 12:40 EST | Updated 03/04/2017 00:12 EST

Winnipeg Art Gallery gives peek inside Nunavut art collection

The Winnipeg Art Gallery on Thursday offered a first look inside a new exhibit that has been in storage for more than 15 years.

The government of Nunavut's fine art collection has arrived in Winnipeg after travelling more than 2,800 kilometres from Yellowknife, N.W.T.

The shipment contained 300 crates and 8,000 pieces, such as a Serpentinite stone sculpture of a mother and child by Cape Dorset artist Kiugak Ashoona, as well as other Inuit carvings, tapestries, prints, handmade toys, clothing and tools.

The collection includes historic, modern and contemporary works from Inuit elders, leaders, artists, scholars and youth.

The art hasn't been widely seen since it went into storage in 1999. 

The collection will be at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on loan for the next five years, showcased alongside the gallery's collection of Inuit art.

Representatives from the gallery said they plan to tour parts of the collection across Europe and Canada, including in Nunavut.

It will also form part of the gallery's new Inuit Art Centre. Representatives for the gallery said they hope to create a "permanent link" between northern and southern Canada through the collection.