Joe Kunnuk

The late Joe Kunnuk was from King Island, Alaska. Born September 17, 1940 to Agnes and Leo Kunnuk. Joe began carving at a young age learning techniques from his father and grandfather, noted carver John Olanna. Joe was inspired by his life experiences. His favorite subjects include polar bear and seal scenes, hunters and rookeries. He is known for his stylized relief work and often includes a personal signature in the form of a human face somewhere in his original work.

All of the material Joe used was provided from nature through traditional subsistence living. Sea mammals are a main food source of the Inupiaq people and nothing is wasted when an animal is harvested for food. Tusks and sealskins are used for artwork and clothing while walrus hide is used as covering for umiaks (whale hunting boat)s. Joe used walrus ivory, baleen and fossilized whalebone to create his art. He is also known for making use of the root of the tusk for his rookery carvings. His work is highly collectable and in demand.

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