Ron Senungetuk

2008 Distinguished ArtistVisual ArtsAward Amount: $25,000

2008 Distinguished Artist Award

Ron Senungetuk working on one of his wooden panels, June 2015. Photograph by Sven Haakanson.

Born in the village of Wales, Ron Senungetuk is an Iñupiaq carver and metalsmith who had the opportunity to study art as a teenager attending Sitka’s Mount Edgecumbe High School. Inspired by his introduction to the world of art, Senungetuk continued his studies at the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and at the Statens Håndverks og Kunstindustri Skole, in Oslo, Norway, as a Fulbright scholar. In Oslo he fell in love with both Scandinavian design and his wife, Turid. Following his education, Senungetuk founded and served as the director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Native Art Center, where he worked to support emerging Native artists for two decades. Today, Senungetuk and his wife live in Homer where they share studio space as practicing artists.

Commissioned by the Alaska State Council on the Arts for the Governor’s Awards and created by Michael Walsh, this film honors Ron Senungetuk for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and Humanities.

With his Distinguished Artist Award, Senungetuk took time to rejuvenate after an intense period of solo shows and public art installations. He also updated his office, traveled and studied art. With his family, he visited Germany and Denmark to study museum collections of Arctic art, absorb contemporary art and visit with European artists. To Rasmuson Foundation, Senungetuk wrote, “I believe it is necessary to see other arts besides your own. Experiences gained are stored away for future idea making and then for art making.”

Aurora Borealis I, II, III – Silver maple and oil stain | 22″ x 56.75″ | 2006
Reindeer Herd – Silver maple and oil stain | 24″ x 36″ | 2003
Silver maple and oil stain | 2008
Silver maple and oil stain | 22″ x 56.75″ | 2006

Artwork by Ron Senungetuk

This art was purchased through the Alaska Art Fund managed by Museums Alaska.