In 2015, it was estimated that there were approximately 13,650 Inuit artists, comprising approximately 26% of the overall population of Inuit across Inuit Nunangat (Inuvialuit settlement region, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut) and elsewhere. In July 2017, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) published the Impact of the Inuit Arts Economy, a survey prepared by Big River Analytics that comprehensively looked at the economic impact of different artistic practices as well as regional differences. Through the survey, it was established that in 2015 the Inuit art economy added $87.2 million to the overall Canadian GDP.
At the Inuit Art Foundation, we have worked for thirty years to support and advocate for Inuit arts across Canada. This support has come through some of our extensive programming, such as the Inuit Arts Quarterly, the Inuit Artist Database and our scholarship and residency programs.
The Foundation also now manages the Igloo Tag Trademark, which was recently transitioned over from the Government of Canada. It was created as a tool to work against the problem of fraudulent reproductions of Inuit art. The Tag is attached to each piece to verify that the work being purchased is Inuit made for the buyers and the artists themselves. The Igloo Tag was analyzed in this study to consider the value that it has in the overall Inuit arts economy. While retailers and wholesalers viewed the additional value that the Igloo Tag adds to each pieces as quite low ($7.27), consumers averaged at a much higher value, saying they would pay an additional $117.26 per piece.
The story that this study tells is how impactful Inuit art is in all of our lives, and that it is greatly influencing the overall economic growth of Canada.
Submitted by the Inuit Art Foundation