Many visitors to Canada will be exposed to Inuit art (Eskimo art) sculptures while visiting the nation. These are the spectacular handmade sculptures carved from stone by the Inuit artists residing in the northern Arctic areas 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 showed at some museums. Considering that Inuit art has been getting increasingly more global exposure, people may be seeing this Canadian art type at museums and galleries located outside Canada too. As a result, it will be natural for many travelers and art collectors to decide that they want to acquire Inuit sculptures as good souvenirs for their houses or as extremely special presents for others. Presuming that the objective is to obtain an authentic piece of Inuit art instead of a low-cost traveler replica, the concern arises on how does one tell apart the real thing from the fakes?
It would be quite frustrating to bring home a piece just to learn later on that it isn't authentic or even made in Canada. 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 regional northern store or straight from an Inuit carver would be genuine. One would have to be more careful elsewhere in Canada, especially in traveler locations where all sorts of other Canadian souvenirs such as t-shirts, hockey jerseys, postcards, crucial chains, maple syrup, and other Native Canadian arts are sold.
The safest locations to look for Inuit sculptures to make sure authenticity are constantly the respectable galleries that specialize in Canadian Inuit art and Eskimo art. A few of these galleries have advertisements in the city tour guide found in hotels.
Trustworthy Inuit art galleries are also listed in Inuit Art Quarterly magazine which is devoted entirely to Inuit art. When one walks into these galleries, one will see that there will be only Inuit art and maybe Native art but none of the other typical tourist souvenirs such as postcards or t-shirts . The Inuit sculpture might be signed by the carver either in English or Inuit syllabics however not all genuine pieces are signed.
Some of these Inuit art galleries likewise have websites so you might shop and buy genuine Inuit art sculpture from house anywhere in the world. In addition to these street retail specialized galleries, there are now respectable online galleries that also specialize in genuine Inuit art.
Some tourist shops do carry authentic Inuit art as well as the other touristy souvenirs in order to cater to all types of tourists. Authentic Inuit sculpture is sculpted from stone and for that reason needs to 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.
Where it becomes more difficult to determine authenticity are with the recreations that are also made from stone. This can be a real gray area to those not familiar with authentic Inuit art. They do have mass and might even have some kind of tag suggesting that it was handcrafted but if there are other pieces on the shelves that look too comparable in detail, they are probably not genuine. If a seller claims that such as piece is genuine, ask to see the main Igloo tag that comes with it which will know on the artist, area where it was made and the year it was sculpted. If the i was reading this Igloo tag is not readily available, proceed. The authentic pieces with the accompanying official Igloo tags will always be the greatest priced and are generally kept in a different (perhaps even locked) rack within the shop.
Considering that Inuit art has actually been getting more and more global exposure, people might be seeing this Canadian fine art form at museums and galleries situated 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 safely assumed that any Inuit art piece acquired from a local northern store or directly from an Inuit carver would be genuine. Trustworthy Inuit art galleries are also noted in Inuit Art Quarterly magazine which is dedicated totally to Inuit art. The Inuit sculpture may be signed by the carver either in English or Inuit syllabics but not all authentic pieces are signed. Some of these Inuit art galleries likewise have sites so you might go shopping and buy authentic Inuit art sculpture from house anywhere in the world.