Ben Pungowiyi

Ben Pungowiyi is from Savoonga, Alaska, located on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. He was adopted at age six by his grandparents. Ben spent time watching his grandfather carve walrus ivory figurines and eventually, at age seven, he was taught to sand and polish the carvings. Ben was nine when his grandfather gave him a piece of ivory to work with and he carved a swimming seal. By the time he was 11, Ben subjects expanded to include a variety of Alaskan marine mammals.

In the early 1990s, in his twenties, Ben was introduced to the large fossilized whalebone sculptures. He started to carve larger pieces using a mixture of materials including walrus ivory, whalebone and found Bering Sea cultural artifacts.

Today, Ben continues to carve small ivory figures and is noted for his animated walrus carvings as well as his unique fossilized whalebone pieces.

Ben went to Beltz High Scholl in Nome, Alaska. However, he returned to his home in Savoonga and lives there today. In addition to being a well-respected and talented carver, he is also a Special Education Aide with the Bering Strait School District.

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