Moses ‘Uksuk’ Wassilie

The artist was born in a sod house at Nunapitchuk in Southwest Alaska in 1946. His mother was Lucy Jacob, a traditional Yupik Dancer and subsistence-trained woman, and his father was Wassilie B. Evan, a subsistence hunter and fisherman and a community leader from Napaskiak. As a young boy, Moses spent his early youth living a traditional subsistence way of life in the tundra country off the Johnson River system. He spent his elementary grade school years at the Moravian Children’s Home in Kwethluk, where he learned about Christianity and a Western way of life. He was inspired artistically by the late Muriel Hannah, a pastel portrait painter. Moses graduated from high school at Mt. Edgecumbe boarding school at Sitka in 1966, where he started painting portraits using charcoal on Sitka pulp mill paper. Other secondary schools include the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to studying painting and sculpture, the University of Alaska Fairbanks studying carving and drawing, and the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he completed for a human services degree. The artist paints with pastel, acrylic and oil, produces King Island style Inupiat drums, contemporary carvings and masks, and walrus ivory jewelry. Moses has also been a documentary filmmaker and photographer for KYUK in Bethel and KUAC in Fairbanks, a film actor, and has taught cultural sensitivity and education classes for public and private organizations in Alaska, including schools and museums. He performs with the Yupik/Cupik dance group, the Kicaput Singers and Dancers of Anchorage.

John Butrovich

Learn More