Origin: Savoonga, St. Lawrence Island, AK
Culture: St. Lawrence Island Yupik
Tom Akeya was born on November 9, 1960. He learned carving from his father when he was only nine years old. When he got older, he began to use carving as a way to supplement the traditional subsistence lifestyle in which he grew up. Akeya has a great talent for focusing on specific features of his animal carvings in order to convey a certain character. Often, he will remove any extraneous detail and stylize those that are the most emotive features. This results in an approach that is unique, yet traditional and an art piece that expresses and honors the core spirit of an animal. Subsequently, Akeya’s animals are often viewed as approachable, quirky, inquisitive and even lovable - evoking a similar emotional spectrum to humans and indicative of our similarities.