Bobby Nashookpuk

Artist Statement


“I am an Inupiat Eskimo from the village of Point Hope, Alaska, one of the oldest historical settlements in North America. We subsist on the land and the ocean with whatever nature provides us. Growing up in Point Hope, I got my training watching my father, uncles, and grandfather, who were carvers and important artists. My mother was my inspiration. She encouraged me to carve. My father was a great hunter, tribal doctor, and the whaling captain of our village. I’ve lived in Fairbanks for several years and make my living by selling my art. Each piece of art I make is an original, made by my hands, using traditional materials and tools; bones from the whale, baleen, walrus ivory, and driftwood. I like to tell the stories of my ancestors through my art. I remember the stories of the Shaman using the Kikituq to protect the village from evil spirits, the transforma­tion, and ancient dances.

“My work is collected by the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian Institute. My art is also in the permanent collection of the Tikigaq Corporation, South Central Foundation, and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and in private collections all over the United States. I had my first solo show at The Alaska House Art Gallery, Fairbanks in 2003 and continue to exhibit there. I have been a featured artist at the Denali State Bank and worked at the Museum of the North doing native carving demonstrations.

“I like to carve everyday. My mother was the first person to inspire me to carve… now, I must carve. It is my survival spiritually and for my subsistence.”