Alving Aningayou

Alvin Aningayou, born on January 16, 1969, is a Siberian Yupik Eskimo from the village of Gambell, located on St. Lawrence Island. Situated in the icy fog-bound waters of the Bering Sea, St. Lawrence lies 40 miles from the Siberian shores of the Chukotsk Peninsula in Russia and 120 miles from mainland Alaska. The Siberian Yupik people continue to practice a subsistence lifestyle and are recognized for their unsurpassed artistic creativity.

In the spring, Alvin joins the subsistence hunt for walrus and bowhead whale used for food. The ivory and baleen taken from these marine mammals are used for art as is fossilized whalebone & other materials found washed up on the beach.

Alvin’s work is beautiful. He scrimshaws his intricately carved animals in the tradition of Saint Lawrence Island work. He meticulously carves walrus ivory into seals and whales and then painstakingly stipples pigment onto them, gradually adding shading and other details. Alvin learned the techniques from his father and brother.

In 2008, he was named a United States Artist Fellow. His work is featured in private and museum collections including the deYoung/Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California.

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