Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Alaskan Art Not Well Distributed

I was speaking to someone the other day about Eskimo and Inuit art from both Alaska and Canada. It's interesting when we compared the distribution systems for each country. It appears that Canada is ahead with its cooperative system well established in the Canadian Arctic. Even though the Inuit art producing communities are quite remote and isolated, the coops enable many Inuit artists to sell their artwork and eventually get them distributed down to wholesalers and galleries in the major centres in southern Canada. Alaska doesn't seem to have as much of a comparable system in place as in Canada, particularly in the more remote areas of Alaska. This is a problem for the local artists in Alaska and with most of their work with the local ivory and whalebone supply, it makes it even more complicated since there are restrictions in import and export of artwork containing such materials - see Import/Export Inuit Art Containing Ivory Article. Fortunately for Canadian Inuit artists, there is a decent coop system in place and they tend to work more in stone than with ivory knowing that there could be problems shipping ivory containing artwork out of Canada. For nice examples of stone artwork, see Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art.

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