To me, the mark of a great city isn’t the presence of major museums — although you do need those — but the ability to support smaller institutions.
I always felt, for instance, that the presence of Rubin Museum of Art, which focuses on the art of Himalayas, was a great mark of pride for New York City, and, when I visited Warsaw, I imagined that if I lived there I’d feel the same about the Muzeum Karykatury, a tiny museum devoted to caricature and cartoons.
It’s easy for visitors to miss these quiet places, and so when I travel, I’ve made it sort of a side project not to.
And so, in Toronto, I visited The Museum of Inuit Art, which describes itself as “the only public museum south of the Arctic solely devoted to the display of art made by Inuit living in Canada.” I thought I’d given the cab driver the wrong address when I arrived, since it’s located in a downtown shopping mall on Queens Quay — a fact not made entirely clear by the lovely photographs on the museum’s website.
The museum itself is as far removed from a shopping mall as you could possibly get though — beautifully designed, it provides an education through time and by artistic theme on a subject that most of us know very little about: the art created by native communities living in Canada’s arctic region. This display, for example, shows how a master carver is teaching his son his art through apprenticeship and example:
This was another stop on my Toronto itinerary, and therefore part of the all-expenses paid trip which you can enter to win. See previous stories on this trip, including this one on a romance with a hat. More details here.
Alison J. Stein
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