Inuit Eskimo Art As Investments
Many people collect Inuit art as investments. Interest in Inuit art is growing internationally but it has been suggested that the number of actual Inuit artists are actually declining. The creation of the Nunavut government which represents Canada’s third official territory, has resulted in many new employment opportunities for the Inuit, particularly the younger ones. Carving and the entire process of bringing back suitable stone from distant quarries to their own communities are hard work for Inuit art carvers. Many young Inuit prefer to pursue less physically demanding careers such as regular nine to five, weekday only government office occupations. As government offices grow, so will the local businesses to support them which create even more local jobs for Inuit people. These trends are not only affecting Inuit males but also females as well. As more young Inuit women move towards a ‘southern’, i.e., more North American lifestyle, Inuit art drawing, wall tapestry and doll making will be less attractive skills to learn compared to office or retail skills.
Many master Inuit art carvers are also expert hunters. They get to see the Arctic animals regularly resulting in excellent representations in their Inuit carvings and other artwork. Many young Inuit these days prefer not to hunt since northern community grocers have reduced a need to hunt for food. As a result, the accuracy of carvings by some younger, non-hunting Inuit artists may be affected since they may not have the familiarity of Arctic animals like older master carvers do.
All of these developments may lead to the demand for good, high quality Inuit art surpassing supply. This will in turn cause a future appreciation of value for good Inuit art. Of course, characteristics of each piece must be taken into consideration. However, most art experts recommend against buying any type of art purely for investment purposes only. Art should be appreciated for its esthetic value. If a certain artwork doesn’t increase in value as hoped, then at least one would still have a lovely piece of art to look at. If one finds a piece of Inuit art that he or she really likes and can afford, then it should be purchased since the opportunity to own that one of a kind piece will probably not come around again.