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Aboriginal Art In Canada: Where To Find The Most Authentic Pieces

The First Nations, Inuit and Metis all have their own cultural and artistic contributions to Canada. Unfortunately, there are also several fake pieces of art claiming to be genuine works of the Native Peoples of Canada. If you are interested in acquiring or just viewing authentic aboriginal art, here are a few places you can look for it.

On Tribal Lands

If you secure permission to travel onto tribal lands, you will have plenty of opportunities to view aboriginal art in its natural environment. Meeting houses and homes of tribal elders contain many works that have been created for either special ceremonies or connections to ancestral roots. Students of art history often have opportunities to see these works up close, so that may be an option for viewing items that are not in an art shop or gallery. Additionally, there may be art shops and galleries on the outskirts of tribal lands that show and sell works made by Native Canadians.

Well-Known Aborigine Artists

Canada has several artists who are First Nation, Inuit or Metis by birth, and who regularly display their works in galleries across Canada. If you become familiar with these artists and their work, you will undoubtedly discover many more aborigine artists, the art they produce and where they show or sell their works as well. Gallery and shop owners who show and sell aboriginal art are also good resources for finding and connecting to more authentic pieces and their creators.

University Campuses

In the art, paleontology and archaeology departments of some of Canada’s universities you will find aboriginal art as well. Some of it is very old and priceless, but some is very new, and the product of aboriginal students in attendance at the universities. Every so often, the universities will feature an exhibit of both artistic and historical significance regarding aboriginal art. You can check the universities’ web pages for information on upcoming exhibits and events. The cultural/tribal attaches at the universities would also be an excellent resource for finding out more about authentic Native Canadian art.

What to Look For

Authentic Native Canadian and aboriginal art often encompasses masks, clothing, footwear, totems, wooden sculptures, clay sculptures and clay vessels, woven work, jewelry and beads. The works should be clearly labeled as works by an aboriginal artist by name, tribe or nation and origin. If there is any label on it that indicates “Made in…,” it is not an authentic piece of aboriginal art, and you need to leave it on the shelves for the tourists.

Contact an art shop like Gallery Phillip for more information.