There’s always something exciting happening at the Museum of International Folk Art! Join us for our many programs listed below.

Ghhúunayúkata / To Keep Them Warm: The Alaska Native Parka
Lectures and Talks Exhibition Opening

Ghhúunayúkata / To Keep Them Warm: The Alaska Native Parka

May 21, 2023
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Join us for the exhibit opening!         

1:30 pm – The Women’s Board of the Museum of New Mexico hosts refreshments in the Atrium

2:00 pm – New Directions in Parka Making, Artist Conversation with Ilegvak (Peter Williams), Bobby Lynn Brower, Joel Isaak, and Golga Oscar. Moderated by Melissa Shaginoff.

Ghhúunayúkata / To Keep Them Warm explores the art of the parka, a garment made for survival in the harsh environments where Alaska Native peoples live and thrive.

These unique garments embody the remarkable creativity, craftsmanship, and innovation of their makers, past and present. As complex cultural expressions, parkas are at once innovative and traditional, a garment that harmoniously marries artistry, function, cultural meaning, and Indigenous ingenuity.

At the heart of the exhibition are 20 parkas representing 6 Alaska Native communities: Yup’ik, Iñupiaq, Unangan, Dena’ina, Koyukon, and St. Lawrence Island Yupik. The selection includes parkas from the mid-19th century to contemporary reinterpretations of this iconic garment, illustrating the continuing vitality of this art form.

A rich selection of Indigenous drawings, photographic portraits, and traditional dolls will provide context for how parkas are worn in ceremony, hunting, and daily use. These works underscore Native self-representation and the parka’s importance as a cultural signifier. Sewing tools, themselves beautiful works of craftsmanship in walrus ivory, wood, or animal hide, round out the exhibition content.

Photo credit: St. Lawrence Island Yupik ancestor artist, Ceremonial seal gut parka, early 20th century, Sivuqaq (St. Lawrence Island), Alaska. Seal gut, auklet crests, seal fur, cormorant feathers, cotton thread, red ocher. 43 x 54 in. Museum of International Folk Art, gift of Lloyd E. Cotsen, Neutrogena Corp., A.1995.93.986. Photo by Addison Doty. 

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