Islanders have a chance to learn more about their cultural connections as the Bermuda National Gallery embarks on a journey from the Arctic to Africa.

The Gallery has not one, not two, but three new Winter Exhibitions, opening to the public next week, on Monday, January 28.

The exhibitions are Inuit Art, A tribute to the late Byllee Lang, and African Affinities, which explores the African influence on contemporary art.

Laura Gorham, Director of the BNG, said the exhibitions would offer visitors a cultural experience on several levels.

She said: "The Inuit exhibits offer a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of a dynamic culture still in process. It is only in recent years that the Inuit people have used art to both document their past and provide cultural, spiritual and ethnic self-affirmation that has become fundamental to their continued identity and survival.

"Byllee Lang contributed so much to Bermuda through both her work and her humanity and we believe this long overdue tribute will be well-received by her friends and former students as well as perhaps provide inspiration to a new generation.

"The BNG has always had a close connection to African art and African Affinities allows us to examine our African Collection and contemporary art from a new perspective. We believe it will be of particular interest to students studying Black History Month in February."

Cultural Reflections is a touring exhibition of more than 70 stone sculptures, and prints drawn from the collection of Inuit art at the Dennos Museum Centre at the Northwestern Michigan College (NMC). This exhibit is complemented by Culture on Cloth, which features wall hangings from the Judith Varney Burch Collection of Arctic Inuit Art.

As one of the last surviving hunting cultures native to North America, the Inuit are a vigorous, yet sensitive, people who inhabit the Nunavut territory of Arctic Canada. These two important collections offer visitors to the BNG an opportunity to study the remote Inuit culture through its artistic expressions.

The Dennos Museum Centre's collection of more than 1,000 works of art by some 80 Inuit artists is recognized as one of the most historically complete collections of contemporary Inuit art in the U.S.

The Museum's executive director, Eugene Jenneman, will be present at the official opening of the Winter Exhibitions by the Mayor of Hamilton, Sutherland Madeiros, on January 27.

While Ms. Burch, who is an internationally recognised expert on Inuit art, will be visiting Bermuda in February to deliver two lectures on February 6 and February 7. There will also be a Lunchtime Lecture by local artists and Inuit art collector Jill Amos Raine on January 30 and student workshops on Culture on Cloth on February 9.

Tribute To Byllee Lang: Inspirational Artist and Educator looks back at the life of the Canadian-born sculptress who lived in Bermuda from 1948 until her death in 1966. She was among the early members of the Bermuda Art Association, which was formed in 1947 by Georgine Hill, Sir Stanley Spurling and others, and evolved into the BSoA. This exhibition includes examples of her sculpture work, as well as archival photographs of her studio and her art and a short documentary by local filmmaker Antoine Hunt.

Lang was instrumental in inspiring emerging Bermudian artists of her day, holding Bermuda's first mixed-race art classes in her studios at a time when the schools were still segregated. She is best remembered for the reredos which she created for the Anglican Cathedral but also created window displays for A.S. Cooper's, prize-winning floats for the Easter Parade, made costumes and designed sets for local theatrical productions. Andrew Trimingham, her friend and artistic executor, wrote that Lang was "the godmother of every artistic endeavour going".

African Affinities compares pieces from the BNG's African Collection and contemporary works from the Permanent Collection to show the influence of African art either directly or by highlight affinities, or parallels, between forms and subjects. The exhibition will feature work by Bermudian artists Will Collieson, Graham Foster, Bill Ming, Lynn Morrell, and Kevin Morris.

All three exhibitions, which are sponsored by Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd, continue until April 4.

You can also see the BNG's revolving exhibition, 350 years of Art In Bermuda, which traces the development of the fine and decorative arts in Bermuda over the last 350 years. The historical timeline reveals the transitions in Bermuda's art and the turning points in local culture.