Central Yup’ik, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska artist’s Parka

Meet the Artists of Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

A white parka with red details.

Central Yup’ik, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, artist, Parka, 1890–1910, seal intestine, sinew, walrus fur, aniline dyes, animal hide, polar bear fur, and thread, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Eugene Victor Thaw Art Foundation, Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, T0763. Photo: John Bigelow Taylor, NYC

Artist’s Language

Imarnit Arcctic-aami catnguugut. Ungungsiim qiluai iqertartut cali-llu anuqmun assirluteng, atuuyunarqut imarnit piciatun ellami. Imarnim pilistiin assircangnaqlluku piliilaraa ungungsiim elliminek cikiutellranek pissurtemun, pissurtem ilani nerqenaaluki wallu aklungqertesnaaluki, cali-llu nasvagnaluuki yuut qailun assircaumanranek.


Seal-gut parkas are essential pieces of clothing used throughout the Arctic. The material is naturally waterproof and windproof, which is key for hunting in harsh climates. Artists make every piece as beautiful as it can be to honor the animals that gave their lives to clothe and feed a community and to show pride in their work and their care for their families.