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Senungetuk Retrospective includes work from Homer Collections

Senungetuk panel
Pratt Museum and Park
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Detail of Aurora Borealis I II III by Ron Senungetuk.

The Senungetuk Retrospective is on display through Dec. 19, 2021.

Homer’s Pratt Museum is hosting a major retrospective of the work of one of Alaska’s great artists, who called Homer his home for the last decades of his life.

The work of Ron Senungetuk not only comes from a travelling exhibition of his work, but, as museum Executive Director Jennifer Gibbins tells us, work from local private collections.

“This retrospective builds on an exhibit that was arranged by the museum of the north and the Anchorage museum and it expands on that with works from the family and Homer area collectors,” Gibbons said. “So this is a really special exhibit and, and very much created by people close to Ron in the Homer area.”

Though Senungetuk’s large carved panels, often out of exotic woods, are easy to spot, the exhibit will include his silverwork and jewellery as well.

“You can expect a little bit of everything. It's a really great representation of Ron's career. And we had help from his wife Turid and his daughter Heidi, as well as area artists who knew him very well, Rika Mouw, Annette Bellamy, Asia Freeman, Kathy Smith, and Judy Wynn,” she said. “And it does include Ron's work in wood as well as his work in silver primarily including his jewelry and his hollowware. And so it's a really good reflection of how his career developed over time.”

Gibbons explains how Senungetuk’s work brought him worldwide recognition.

“He really moved around the world to continue developing his craft. He was pioneering a lot of the transition for Alaska Natives from craft to fine art. And so he really tapped into what was happening around the world, not only to develop the skills, but also to develop his style and the aesthetic. And you can see this in his work,” Gibbons said. “He's got the extraordinarily precise craftsmanship, which he developed at the Rochester Institute, and then also Scandinavia. He was really on the leading edge of, of blending styles and genres. So you can see his Inupiaq heritage. You can see this post-war modernism and not only was he on the leading edge of this himself, he just became very influential around the world as an artist because of. that.”

The Senungetuk retrospective opening reception is Friday evening from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Pratt Museum and Park, and is supported by the Homer Foundation. Current museum hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Jay Barrett, KBBI's new News Director should be a familiar voice to our listeners. He's been contributing to Kenai Peninsula news for the last three years out of KDLL Kenai, and was the voice of The Alaska Fisheries Report from KMXT for 12 years. Jay worked for KBBI about 20 years ago as the Central Peninsula Reporter at KDLL.