Carving Life: Walrus Ivory Carvings from the Bering Sea, 2017
Eleanor M. Imperato
ISBN: 978-1936658374 – Language: English – Paperback: 298 pages
In Carving Life. Walrus Ivory Carvings from the Bering Sea, Eleanor M. Imperato presents her personal journey into the world of the Alaska Inuit and specifically, carvers of walrus ivory in Gambell on St. Lawrence Island, Shishmaref on Sarichef Island in the Chukchi Sea, and in the King Island community of Nome, Alaska. In her narrative Imperato explains what she learned from her encounters: the meaning of living a subsistence lifestyle, the challenges of procuring ivory, the process of carving and reasons for doing so. With her words, she brings into sharp relief the lives, aspirations, and talents of some of the carvers she came to know; with her photographs she illuminates the land they call home. She provides modern stories of modern people who carve walrus ivory for local and distant audiences. The author also discusses in her text, as does Dr. Anne Millbrooke in her introduction, past and current outside influences that have and are altering a traditional way of life. The text is richly illustrated, as is the catalog section which includes Alaska Inuit carvings in walrus ivory as well as bone and caribou antlers. By way of comparison, the author includes many ivory, bone, and soapstone sculptures that represent the Inuit of Greenland and Canada. The bibliography that is provided is extensive and will invite the reader to further deepen their knowledge of historical and current issues. The book was published to accompany an exhibit by the same name at the QCC Art Gallery, City University of New York, held from October 18, 2017 until January 17, 2018.