Larry “Ulaaq” Ahvakana: Land/Water

Larry Ahvakana was raised in Barrow and Anchorage, Alaska. He settled in Suquamish, Washington and has been a professional artist for over thirty years.

Ahvakana is best known for his Inuit or Inupiaq figures and animals. “All my life, I was surrounded by my culture and my people, the Inupiaq of northern Alaska. The dances and songs of the Inupiaq tradition are our oral history — the emotional interpretation of our respect for and involvement with the environment of the North Slope of Alaska … My work incorporates many media and materials and a sense of my cultural design. The interpretation is very personal. I hope the conceptual format gives viewers an idea of the Inupiaq tradition."

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Larry "Ulaaq" Ahvakana, In Preparation of the Healing Song, red cedar with caribou teeth and mixed media

This survey exhibition draws from thirty years of work and includes artworks in stone and wood carving, printmaking, fused glass, and jewelry art. These artistic creations are complemented by photographs, the artist’s ephemera, and other sources of inspiration.

Ahvakana is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI; the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. His artistic and professional journey includes being a student, artist-in-residence, art center coordinator, sculpture instructor, board member, and art selection committee member. 

Ahvakana’s exhibition history is extensive, including the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Heard Museum (Phoenix), Institute of American Indian Art (Santa Fe), Quintana Gallery (Portland), Images of the North Gallery (San Francisco), Seattle Art Museum (Documents Northwest), and Sacred Circle Gallery of American Indian Art (Seattle). His work is included in numerous museum, corporate, and private collections including institute of American Indian Arts Museum (Santa Fe), Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Museum, Alaska State Museum, Washington State Arts Commission, Portland Art Museum, Burke Museum (Seattle) and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (Barrow).

Ahvakana is represented by several art galleries including Boreal Traditions (Anchorage), Alaska Native Arts Foundation Gallery (Anchorage), and Quintana Galleries (Portland).  He is featured locally at Stonington Gallery (Seattle) and Bainbridge Arts & Crafts.


Eye on Artist: Larry Ahvakana & the Northwest Inupiaq Dancers

Saturday, January 31, 2015 3-5:00 pm
BIMA Auditorium
Admission is $6 for adults/students admitted free with preregistration.

Join us for a slide presentation & talk by Larry "Ulaaq" Ahvakana about his influences & his artistic practice, followed by a rousing performance featuring the drumming, dance, & story of the Northwest Inupiaq Dancers.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Sponsored by:


and the Ames Family Foundation

This exhibition is the second of four exhibitions in the Ames Family Foundation Cultural Diversity Series at BIMA. Two other solo exhibitions in the series include Romson Regarde Bustillo, titled Dugay na, summer 2014, and Barbara Earl Thomas, fall 2015. BIMA is also planning a group show of emerging artists whose work is inspired by their cultural heritage and life experiences.

2014 Exhibitions sponsored by:


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