12 Sep Susie Silook
Fellowship: After the Storm (2001)
Cultural Affiliation: Yup’ik/Iñupiaq
Silook was born in Gambell, Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska, and currently lives in Adak, Alaska. When she was growing up, the language spoken in Silook’s home was Siberian Yup’ik. Her father carved and her mother sewed skins, but it was her mother who gave Silook her first carving tools and ivory. At the age of seventeen, she turned down a college scholarship to join the Army, where she served for three years. In 2000, she was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for An Individual Artist, and in 2007, a United States Artists Rasmuson Fellow. A self-taught artist, Silook is one of the first successful woman ivory carvers, an artistic endeavor usually pursued by men. Unlike the historic or traditional Inuit carving compositions that center on animals and hunting, her pieces are sculpted portraits of women and sea goddesses, their expressions and postures indicative of her visions that align with her political and activist work on Native women’s issues. Silook is also a poet.