Spotlight On: Larry Ahvakana


We are proud to present a tightly-focused exhibition of work in stone and wood by master sculptor Larry Ahvakana (Inupiaq). This spotlight exhibition is a peek into what the multimedia sculptor is focusing on in his studio, and at the many facets of his practice.

Ahvakana was born in Fairbanks and raised in Point Barrow, AK. Barrow–recently renamed Utqiaġvik in 2016, its indigenous name–is the northernmost city in the United States, deep within the Arctic circle. At age seven, his family moved to Anchorage, leaving family ties and his indigenous language behind. While attending the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, he found his Native identity reawakened and respected. By participating in the local tribal culture there, he recalled significant memories of his traditional upbringing and re-dedicated himself to Inupiat culture.

One of Ahvakana’s mentors while at IAIA was Allan Houser, the legendary Apache sculptor. He credits Houser with being a strong influence as he learned to carve. In addition to studies at IAIA, he also attended New York’s Cooper Union School of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design. Ahvakana is recognized as an artist, educator, and cultural elder.

“I was taught stone carving by an Apache master stone carver – Allan Houser. He taught me the ins and outs of understanding sculpture and understanding your own direction and your own people,” Ahvakana said. “That was the basis for doing my work. To look into my own Inupiaq culture — through my parents and experiences with the village life when I was young in Barrow.”   -Larry Ahvakana

Exhibition Dates:

March 2, 2017 - March 31, 2017

Involved Artists:

Larry Ahvakana