Susie Silook is a Yupik/Inupiaq writer, carver, and sculptor. She is from the remote Siberian village of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. She currently lives on Adak, an island on the Aleutian chain far out in the Pacific Ocean between Russia and the United States.
The ancestral ivory dolls of Saint Lawrence, traditionally carved by men, are the basis of her work. While she works in the traditional media of ivory and whalebone, her themes are the contemporary issues confronting Native Alaskans, particularly women, with a specific focus on violence against Native women. Silook uses her considerable talents to depict themes that confront contemporary Alaska Natives, including issues of identity, spirituality, conflict and adaptation, as embodied by the female form. She also departs from tradition by depicting women in her carvings rather than the animals most commonly rendered by men.
Silook’s work has been shown and sold all over Alaska and the United States and her sculptures can be found in the collections of the de Young Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum, the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the Alaskan Native Heritage Centre, as well as in many other public and private collections. In 2000 she was awarded the Governor’s Award for an Individual Artist, in 2001 she held a prestigious Eiteljorg Fellowship, and in 2007 she was United States Artists Rasmuson Fellow.