Eugene Tiulana

Eugene Tiulana is an Inupiaq ivory carver born October 10, 1953, in King Island, Alaska. Under the guidance of his father, Paul Tiulana, Eugene began carving at the age of twelve. His very first carving was a key chain made from a small walrus tooth.

In the early 1960’s due to economic and social pressures, King Islanders began to move to Nome, Alaska and other surrounding communities. By the 1970s no residents were left on King Island. The Tiulana family relocated to Nome and although they left their ancestral home, family and tradition remained very important to them. Today, King Islanders still maintain a very distinct cultural identity, managing to live a very similar life as they had on the island. All of the materials Eugene uses in his art are gathered as part of the continuation of a subsistence lifestyle.

Eugene is a full-time walrus ivory carver. He creates a variety of King Island “Spirit Masks.” His carved “spirit masks” are inspired by the stories he heard from his elders. “Spirit Masks” were used by Shamans during ceremonial dances until the late 1920s. Some of the dances were performed just before hunting season to honor the sprits of the mammals, birds, and sea life.

Eugene is also known for his carved miniature bird rookeries. He uses the core of the walrus tusk to recreate the rocky cliffs where Arctic birds build their nests and his rookeries usually feature carved walruses at the base.

Eugene currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska.

Puffin Rookery
Puffin Rookery by Eugene Tiulana
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