Perry Eaton: Sugpiaq/Alutiiq Masks

Perry Eaton carves traditionally based Sugpiaq/Alutiiq masks deeply rooted in the rich culture of Kodiak, Alaska. Eaton’s emotive masks are patterned after the ancient forms of the Alutiiq, who believed that each mask possessed its own spirit.

Exhibition Dates:

September 2, 2010 - September 30, 2010

Involved Artists:

Perry Eaton

Featured Works

“Having been an artist all my life, working in several mediums, but most notably black and white photography and wood sculpture, I find myself total absorbed in the expression of my Alaska Native identity. I carve traditionally based Sugpiaq Alutiiq masks. Their form and shape are deeply rooted in the rich material culture of Kodiak Island and for me, they are a celebration of belonging, producing a deep sense of pride in being Sugpiaq. The masks have proven to be a means and method of transformation and as an artist they give me license to move and change time, place, being and even worlds.

I take great inspiration from everyday life and the rich mix of emotions that I have experienced throughout my lifetime. Simple things like getting along, self-perception, gender relationships and nature’s cycles are all subjects I explore. In addition, Sugpiaq legends, beliefs and stories serve as a never-ending inspiration for work.

I produce my work from a variety of woods and materials but my preference in wood is white spruce. The best wood comes from the stump where the grain flares and produces a rich and unpredictable pattern moving in all directions. My tools are straightforward: gouges, crooked knives, sandpaper, oil paints and brushes and like my ancestors, I use the best available. The average mask might take several weeks and on occasion, months to produce.”