Saturday, November 22, 2008

Similar Masks

This is a Beaver Mask carved from yellow cedar by Bill Henderson from the Kwakwaka´wakw. The native masks often represented spirit creatures, animals and myths. When used in the Potlatch or other West Coast Native ceremonies, the native dancers would take on the personification of the creatures that the masks represented and enter the supernatural world during the dance. A West Coast Native transformation mask often represents the transformation of a human to a mythical creature or animal and vice versa. I really believe that masks played a major role in many parts of natives lives especially spiritually.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Phillip John Charette is an Alaska Native who has strived and perfected the art of mask making. You can see his work at All the masks on this site are made by Phillip.Phillip ahs an art studio located in Baker City, Oregon.

Alaskan Native Artist owned and operated business featuring authentic contemporary Yup'ik art by Alaskan Native Artist Phillip John Charette "Aarnaquq". Phillip is a member of the Yupiit Nation in Southwestern Alaska along the Kuskokwim River, and is enrolled through the Bureau of Indian Affairs with the Alaskan Native 13th Regional Corporation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My connection

I just thought about how the craftsmen were extremely excited about seeing these long lost masks and thought of how I feel the same way about kayaks. When I see old traditional kayaks from my region I am totally stoked about the piece of art. I tend to flare up full of excitement as i analyze all the parts of the kayak. I can relate to how the people of Kodiak felt when they were brought back a part of their history. I also was able to connect their efforts of studying the masks to how I try to find unique aspects of older kayaks in pictures. I find myself trying to figure out the significance of special joints and ties throughout the kayak as the Kodiak people do to the assorted masks. Preservation of our cultures is a really big deal in my point of view. If its not maintained it will slowly die off and eventually be forgotten in many ways. For instance, our cultures may be written in books, but the most important aspect of culture, keeping it alive, would not be present. At that note I would like you all to know about Qayanek, a kayak preservation center in my home town of Kwigillingok. My family and I strive to keep the art of kayak building alive. We push ourselves as far back culturally as possible to raise the level of the coastal kayak authenticity. You can view our website and see for yourself how we as the craftsmen of Kodiak strive to keep our heritage and culture alive at

Monday, November 17, 2008


The exquisite masks in the down town Anchorage museum are truly one of a kind. They have made their way back to Alaska to be viewed and studied. I was stunned at the variety of masks that were found by Alphonse Pinart.