While bentwood hats were practical headgear for Aleutian Islands hunters as they traveled in kayaks, they also served as important ceremonial works of art to vividly express the spiritual connection between maritime hunters and sea creatures.
The artists’ working process will be filmed throughout the residency and the rich traditional knowledge that surround this iconic Unangax cultural object will be documented. Museum visitors are invited to observe Master Artist and apprentice teams carve, bend and decorate bentwood hats in the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center throughout the week.
The Alaska’s Living Cultural Treasures Master Artist and Apprentice residency program is sponsored by the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Anchorage Museum and National Endowment for the Arts. The program is funded in part through a National Endowment for the Arts Folk Arts Partnership grant.