Kunaq Marjorie Tahbone

2023 Fellowship AwardFolk & Traditional Arts2019 Project AwardFolk & Traditional Arts

2023 Fellowship Award

Kunaq, an Inupiaq artist from Nome, grew up learning how to prepare and store seal meat and oil for her family and community and to process seal hide to create maklaks and kamiks, two styles of traditional boots. She wants to work with local hunters to hunt seal on sea ice so she can complete the circle as a hunter-gatherer and artist to help revitalize her community’s traditional way of making.

Her goal is to bring back practical skills, so every household is well taken care of, especially in the hard winter months. She will also teach three classes within the Bering Strait Region on how to make traditional maklaks and host a culture camp that centers around the harvest and preparation of seal from food to art.

2019 Project Award

Tahbone will create Inupiaq fancy fur parkas with patterns from her ancestral homeland in Wales, Alaska, using hides from eight different Arctic animals. She will learn and teach traditional sewing, sustaining valuable cultural knowledge.

Artwork by Kunaq Marjorie Tahbone

Marjorie Tahbone made these pink kamiik for everyday wear to normalize the use of traditional boots. Seal fur, seal skin for hard bottoms, otter fur and hot pink leather / 2020.
These fancy maklaks by Majorie Tahbone were made for the president of the only tribal school in Alaska, Ilisaġvik. Beads, seal and leather / 2021
Marjorie Tahbone made these tiny sewing ulus to help with her sewing journey. They are both decorative and practical. Metal, wood and brass / 2021
Marjorie Tahbone made a traditional fur parka for her wedding in 2019, replicating a design from her great-grandmother. Seal, cow, wolf, wolverine, fish, moose, otter and muskrat / 2019.