The Path of Totality has tracked across the United States, and the moment of total solar eclipse has passed. Millions of eclipse watchers were watching the skies of North American, which will not see another eclipse like this until April 8, 2024. We’re celebrating the return of the sun with an Instagram giveaway. Click here for details: INSTAGRAM
And if you win that giveaway? Consider treating yourself to a Return of the Sun Blanket.
The traditions and activities of the Iñupiat, today, as in the past, revolve around the changing of the seasons. This blanket, inspired by the artwork of Larry Ahvakana, celebrates the arrival of the sun back to the Arctic and the start of hunting season. The Iñupiat mark this special time with the Messenger Feast—a ceremony where the spirits of the past season’s harvest are ushered back into the spirit world. Today, the celebration fosters cultural pride and the regeneration of traditional values. This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund to honor and reawaken a vital part of Native history.
Return of the Sun was designed for the American Indian College Fund Blanket Series by Alaskan artist Larry Ahvakana. Born in Fairbanks, Larry was raised in Point Barrow until the age of six, when his family moved to Anchorage. He left behind his grandparents, his native tongue, and many of the traditional cultural influences that had shaped his childhood. But these have re-emerged through his art, becoming the basis for his inspired work. He works in a variety of media, including stone, glass, bone, metal and wood. His masks bring tradition to life with mythic imagery in old-growth wood.
mask image courtesy of the Blart Museum
Larry has been a working artist since 1972. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Larry is widely recognized as an educator, instructing over the years at the Institute of American Indian Art, heading the Sculpture Studio at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and founding a teaching studio for glass blowing in Barrow, Alaska. His works are included in a large number of major museums, corporate collections, private art collections and as public art commissions. You can learn more about his work here. And you can see all of the AICF blankets here. The sale of these blankets supports scholarships for Native American students.
As for the sun? Welcome back.