Many visitors to Canada will be exposed to Inuit art (Eskimo art) sculptures while touring the country. These are the spectacular handmade sculptures carved from stone by the Inuit artists living in the northern Arctic regions of Canada. While in a few of the major Canadian cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City) or other traveler areas popular with international visitors such as Banff, Inuit sculptures will be seen at numerous retail shops and displayed at some museums. Since Inuit art has been getting increasingly more worldwide exposure, people might be seeing this Canadian fine art form at galleries and museums situated outside Canada too. As a result, it will be natural for lots of tourists and art collectors to choose that they would like to purchase Inuit sculptures as great souvenirs for their houses or as very unique gifts for others. Assuming that the objective is to acquire an genuine piece of Inuit art instead of a cheap tourist replica, the question emerges on how does one tell apart the real thing from the phonies?
It would be pretty frustrating to bring home a piece just to learn later on that it isn't authentic and even made in Canada. If one is fortunate enough to be traveling in the Canadian Arctic where the Inuit live and make their wonderful art work, then it can be safely assumed that any Inuit art piece purchased from a regional northern shop or directly from an Inuit carver would be genuine. One would have to be more cautious in other places in Canada, specifically in tourist areas where all sorts of other Canadian mementos such as tee shirts, hockey jerseys, postcards, essential chains, maple syrup, and other Native Canadian arts are sold.
The best places to purchase Inuit sculptures to make sure authenticity are always the reliable galleries that focus on Canadian Inuit art and Eskimo art. Some of these galleries have ads in the city tourist guides found in hotels.
Trusted Inuit art galleries are also listed in Inuit Art Quarterly magazine which is dedicated entirely to Inuit art. When one strolls into these galleries, one will see that there will be just discover here Inuit art and maybe Native art however none of the other typical traveler souvenirs such as postcards or t-shirts . The Inuit sculpture may be signed by the carver either in English or Inuit syllabics but not all genuine pieces are signed.
Some of these Inuit art galleries likewise have sites so you could go shopping and purchase authentic Inuit art sculpture from home anywhere in the world. In addition to these street retail specialty galleries, there are now reputable online galleries that likewise specialize in authentic Inuit art. Because of lower overheads, these online galleries are a good choice for purchasing Inuit art because the rates are typically lower than those at street retail galleries. Obviously, like any other shopping on the internet, one must beware so when dealing with an online gallery, make sure that their pieces also come with the official Igloo tags to ensure credibility.
Some tourist stores do carry authentic Inuit art as well as the other touristy souvenirs in order to cater to all types of travelers. Genuine Inuit sculpture is carved from stone and for that reason must have some weight or mass to it. An authentic Inuit sculpture is a one of a kind piece of artwork and nothing else on the store racks will look exactly like it.
This can be a real gray area to those unfamiliar with genuine Inuit art. If a seller declares that such as piece is genuine, ask to see the official Igloo tag that comes with it which will have info on the artist, area where it was made and the year it was sculpted. The authentic pieces with the accompanying authorities Igloo tags will always be the greatest priced and are normally kept in a separate (perhaps even locked) shelf within the store.
Considering that Inuit art has been getting more and more worldwide exposure, people might be seeing this Canadian great art kind at museums and galleries located outside Canada too. If one is fortunate enough to be traveling in the Canadian Arctic where the Inuit live and make their terrific artwork, then it can be securely assumed that any Inuit art piece acquired from a regional northern shop or straight from an Inuit Kurt Criter carver would be genuine. Reliable Inuit art galleries are likewise noted in Inuit Art Quarterly publication which is dedicated completely 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 likewise have sites so you could go shopping and purchase genuine Inuit art sculpture from home anywhere in the world.