Many visitors to Canada will be exposed to Inuit art (Eskimo art) sculptures while exploring the country. These are the splendid handmade sculptures sculpted from stone by the Inuit artists living in the northern Arctic regions of Canada. While in some of the significant Canadian cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City) or other traveler locations popular with global visitors such as Banff, Inuit sculptures will be seen at different retail stores and showed at some museums. Since Inuit art has actually been getting more and more global exposure, individuals might be seeing this Canadian fine art form at museums and galleries located outside Canada too. As a result, it will be natural for many tourists and art collectors to decide that they want to buy Inuit sculptures as nice mementos for their houses or as very distinct gifts for others. Presuming that the intent is to acquire an genuine piece of Inuit art instead of a low-cost traveler imitation, the question emerges on how does one tell apart the real thing from the phonies?
It would be quite frustrating to bring home a piece only to find out later that it isn't really authentic or perhaps made in Canada. If one is lucky enough to be traveling in the Canadian Arctic where the Inuit live and make their fantastic art work, then it can be safely presumed that any Inuit art piece bought from a regional northern store or directly from an Inuit carver would be authentic. One would have to be more careful somewhere else in Canada, especially in traveler areas where all sorts of other Canadian keepsakes such as tee shirts, hockey jerseys, postcards, essential chains, maple syrup, and other Native Canadian arts are sold.
The most safe locations to look for Inuit sculptures to guarantee credibility are always the respectable galleries that specialize in Canadian Inuit art and Eskimo art. Some of these galleries have ads in the city tourist guides found in hotels.
Reputable Inuit art galleries are also listed in Inuit Art Quarterly magazine which is dedicated completely to Inuit art. When one walks into these galleries, one will see that there will be just Inuit art and maybe Native art but none of the other normal traveler keepsakes such as tee shirts or postcards . The Inuit sculpture might be signed by the carver either in English or Inuit syllabics but not all authentic pieces are signed.
Some of these Inuit art galleries also have websites so you might go shopping and buy genuine Inuit art sculpture from home anywhere in the world. In addition to these street retail specialty galleries, there are now trustworthy online galleries that also specialize in authentic Inuit art.
Some tourist shops do carry genuine Inuit art as well as the other touristy souvenirs in order to cater to all types of travelers. Authentic Inuit sculpture is sculpted from stone and for that reason must have some weight or mass to it. An genuine Inuit sculpture is a one of a kind piece of artwork and nothing else on the store racks will look precisely like it.
Where it becomes harder to determine credibility are with the recreations that are also made from stone. This can be a genuine gray area to those unfamiliar with authentic Inuit art. They do have mass and may even have some kind of tag indicating that it was handmade however if there are other pieces on the shelves that look too similar in detail, they are most likely not genuine. If a seller declares that such as piece is genuine, ask to see the main Igloo tag that comes with it which will have information on the artist, location where it was made and the year it was carved. Move on if the Igloo tag is not offered. The genuine pieces with the accompanying official Igloo tags will always be the highest priced and are generally kept in a different (perhaps even locked) shelf within the store.
Considering that Inuit art has been getting more and more international exposure, individuals may be seeing this Canadian fine art type at museums and galleries situated outside Canada too. If one is fortunate enough to be taking a trip in the Canadian Arctic where the Inuit live and make their terrific artwork, then it can be safely assumed that any Inuit art piece purchased from a local northern shop or straight from an Inuit carver Kurt Criter would be genuine. Reliable Inuit art galleries are also noted in Inuit Art Quarterly publication which is devoted totally to Inuit art. The Inuit sculpture might be signed by the carver either in English or Inuit syllabics but not all genuine pieces are signed. Some of these Inuit art galleries also have websites so you might shop and purchase authentic Inuit art sculpture from home anywhere in the world.