Jennifer Angaiak Wood

Jennifer Angaiak Wood

Jennifer Angaiak Wood an artist of Yup’ik, Irish and Italian descent, and was born and raised in Fairbanks, AK. The Yup’ik side of her family comes from Tununak, AK, on the coast of the Bering Sea. Jennifer started carving masks when she took an Alaskan Native Art class in high school, and she has been mostly self-taught after the unexpected passing of her teacher, Ron Manook. Since moving to the Seattle area in 2015, she has met and worked with other artists, who are helping her learn to use more traditional tools such as bent knives and adzes. Jennifer’s inspirations include historic masks, stories, and her time spent in Tununak growing up. She usually adds modern materials and concepts to her work, and she uses her art as a way to connect with her Yup’ik heritage and bring a little bit of Yup’ik history into the modern world. She has recently expanded her art practice to include printmaking, though masks are her primary means of artistic expression.

“The more I learn about Yup’ik art and tradition, the more I learn about my ancestors and myself. Each time I finish a mask I feel as if I have brought back a piece of historic Yup’ik life into the modern world. The old masks and stories inspire my work, but I usually include modern materials and experiences to emphasize that we are not relics of the past. We are living, breathing beings, and so is our artistic expression. Carving has become a way for me to make visual the connections I feel to my culture and to share those ideas and stories with others.”

-Jennifer Angaiak Wood