Serving Toronto's most liveable community with the Annex Gleaner

ARTS: Hello April! (Spring 2022)

April 11th, 2022 · No Comments

The Bata Shoe Museum will dazzle your feet

By Meribeth Deen

With any luck, winter boots will be forgotten in the back of the closet this month as Torontonians embrace spring—at least on the good days.

If you are a shoe fanatic, Sundays are particularly good days because the Bata Shoe Museum (BSM) is FREE on Sundays

Until the end of this month, walk over to 327 Bloor St. W. and check out the exhibition “Art & Innovation: Traditional Arctic Footwear from the Bata Shoe Museum Collection.” Yes, this might throw you back a few weeks in terms of the weather, but you can stay warm while dipping your toes into the beautiful and innovative footwear created by various arctic cultural groups so they could thrive in an extreme landscape.

The red kamiks from Kalaallit, Greenland, could make a serious splash on any runway. 

These boots exemplify the way footwear in traditional Greenlandic culture communicates gender differences. While men’s boots typically only reach mid-calf, women’s boots, can be thigh-high. Also, women’s footwear is usually white and red, while men’s footwear is typically black.

It’s hard to imagine being anything but toasty in the polar bear kamiks from Iglulingmiut, North West Territories. These demonstrate the fur inlay technique, whereby Inuit seamstresses match the direction of different furs to create complex designs. Fur-soled footwear from Siberia reveals the secret to walking on ice.

If you are not yet ready to step inside a museum, you can find this exhibition online, along with a short video, which is part of the BSM web series “The World at Your Feet.”

If fur is not your thing, you might want to wait until May to visit the BSM when a new exhibit opens: “Future Now: Virtual Sneakers to Cutting-Edge Kicks.” This exhibition will explore the future of footwear: how sustainable materials (leather made from mushrooms, soles from reclaimed ocean plastics) and technologies, such as 3-D printing, are changing shoes as we know them.

Register now for the webinar A Conversation with Jeff Staple on April 20. Jeff Staple, graphic designer and founder of the streetwear brand STAPLE will be in conversation with museum Director and Senior Curator, Elizabeth Semmelhack. Staple is famous for causing a “sneaker frenzy” when he collaborated with Nike on a limited edition shoe, and he is hoping to rock the shoe world again by producing digital shoes which will be sold as non-fungible tolkens (NFTs). Intrigued yet?

There’s so much more to see and do along the Bloor St. Culture Corridor. You can’t go wrong by strapping on a pair of actual shoes and discovering it for yourself.

Tags: General