June 02, 2015
For millennia, walrus ivory tusks have been carved into forms essential to Arctic life, from harpoon heads and needles, to hunting charms and figures that evoke spiritual connections and ancestry.
Three carvers who carry on this tradition — Jerome Saclamana of Nome, Levi Tetpon of Shaktoolik, and Clifford Apatiki of Gambell — recently came to the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center for a weeklong residency. Hosted in the Living Our Cultures gallery, these accomplished artists demonstrated their work in this important cultural form and material, combining traditional with innovative and experimental techniques that were shared with students, visitors, curators and conservators. Information provided by the participants will be added to the exhibition website and gallery interactives.
Material Traditions is sponsored by the Surdna Foundation, CIRI Foundation, Smithsonian Council for Arctic Studies, and Alaska State Council on the Arts.