Bata Shoe Museum displays rare Arctic footwear in new exhibit

The Bata Shoe Museum has put rare pieces of traditional Arctic footwear on display in a new, semi-permanent exhibition.

'Show-stopping' pieces collected from Nunavut, Alaska, Greenland, Siberia

The Bata Shoe Museum has put rare pieces of traditional Arctic footwear on display in a new, semi-permanent exhibition.

The items were collected during field trips funded by the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation from the 1970s to the '90s to such places as Nunavut, Alaska, Greenland, Siberia and Sami regions of northern Europe.

Highlights include an intricately decorated pair of seal-skin boots from Greenland, made for a woman's 25th wedding anniversary, said senior curator Elizabeth Semmelhack.

"They're over-the-knee boots in this brilliant red and really are kind of show-stopping."

A pair of Canadian Inuit-made boots feature an elegant polar-bear design in white seal fur inlaid into grey seal-skin.

An important trend in dealing with indigenous material is to move beyond the idea of the "anonymous maker," Semmelhack said. "Because it was field research work, we know the names of all the makers, who they made the pieces for and why they were made in that way."

"Art & Innovation: Traditional Arctic Footwear from the Bata Shoe Museum Collection" occupies a large second-floor gallery. It will remain on display for several years.


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