Gertrude Svarny: Ukuqanaadan
Date: Oct 2, 2018 - Jan 20, 2019
Recurring weekly on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
- Admission: Included with museum admission
- Location: Anchorage Museum
During World War II, Gertrude Svarny was evacuated from her home in Unalaska, along with nearly 900 other Unangax, to internment camps in Southeast Alaska. Held for the duration of the war, those who survived and returned home found their communities ransacked and burned. The impact on Unangan culture, traditions and language was profound. Svarny’s art became a means to reflect her people’s culture, to tell the story of the Unangan people, who thrived for thousands of years in the same place. Her daughters and other family members share the interest and the making. Together, they have helped maintain and perpetuate Unangan art and culture.
"Gertrude Svarny: Ukuqanaadan" shows the continuity of an enduring culture through art. Roughly translated, Ukuqanaadan means vision. Although Svarny painted in her younger years, it wasn’t until age 51 that she dedicated her life to making art. She is an accomplished weaver, bentwood artist, and ivory and soapstone carver. Within all of her works are traditional materials — pigments made of local minerals, decoration created from sinew, seal intestine and sea lion whiskers — and a distinct interpretation of Unangan history and culture. At age 88, Svarny still lives in Unalaska, where she makes her artwork.