Inuit Art

Inuit Art has gained tremendous recognition since 1949, when the first commercial exhibition took place in Montreal. After its success, the Government of Canada recognized the significant artistic potential of the Arctic people. Grants and cooperatives were created to promote and distribute Inuit art, allowing underprivileged communities to generate new sources of income. The result of this initiative has been the birth of many great artists who have found a medium to express their values, beliefs and traditions through artistic means.      

The Inuits work with the materials they have at hand: bone, ivory, leather, antler and especially stone. The Canadian Arctic is rich in minerals and the artists often extract the stones from the quarries themselves. The artists from the Central Arctic (Baker Lake and Arviat) primarily sculpt basalt. The artists from Baffin Island (Cape Dorset, Kimmirut and Iqualuit) for the most part sculpt serpentine and occasionally marble. Some artists prefer to use steatite (soap stone), a softer stone. There is not one stone that is particularly more precious than the other  and their availability varies according to region. The artists use traditional sculpting tools, such as the metal saw, the file, the scraper and sand paper.

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