James Uglowook

James is a Siberian Yupik Eskimo born on April 9,1956 in the village of Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. St. Lawrence Island is located in the Bering Sea between Nome, Alaska and Chukotak Peninsula, Russia. The population of this remote village is only 500 people and their native language is spoken on both the Russian and U.S. sides of the Bering Straits.

James attended school in Gambell. He became a subsistence hunter, as did most of his peers, following in the footsteps of his ancestors. James is usually involved in hunting walrus, seals, birds and he joins many of the villagers in their hunt for bowhead whales during the spring migration.

Carving is a rich tradition for the Native People on St. Lawrence Island. It helps sustain their proud culture and way of life in this very remote and harsh area. James has carved for many years and is considered a master carver. He carves from the ivory tusk of walrus as well as whalebone and accents his small sculptures with baleen, a fibrous material from the mouth of Bowhead whales. James’ signature piece is the sitting polar bear with a baleen nose. He also carves dog teams and for a change of pace will create earrings and necklaces.

His work is featured in the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the Wells Fargo Collection and in the book titled "Eskimo Carvers of the Bering Sea" by Dale Kessler.

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James Uglowook, Yupik Alaskan Nataive Artist