My interest in King Island art and craft comes from my family heritage.  While growing up, my grandmother told stories of the island in arctic. Observing my Uncle Lou’s stone carvings, strengthened my sense of Inupiaq design and captured my imagination. Spending time with my family gave me a sense of being from a place of ice, snow and the walrus.  Additionally, many Alaska Native people frequent urban environments, which led to other inspirations.

 

My descent into studying the old ways of construction was done by building replications of skin boats (skin on frame kayaks) from the 17th to the 19th century, an endangered craft.  Capturing the craftsmanship of the King Island Kayaks of this time, allowed me to bring to life an ancient craft. Through participating in Northwest Inupiat Dance Group, I organized an Umiak build and produced a documentary film through my business Native Kut. The documentary, Umiak Travels, features how the Umiak changes the lives of people in the dance group.

 

Desiring to widen my horizons led me to continue building my repertoire through carving masks under the influence and direction of renowned artist Larry Ahvakana (Point Barrow, Inupiaq).  After becoming an apprentice, I started to better connect with materials and subject matter. Utilizing knowledge of ancient technologies and self-exploration, I produce work that speaks to the experiences of myself and relatives.  Many people and animals are becoming displaced by climate change, which inspired me to incorporate these themes into my work, as our arts always tell the story of what is happening.

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