George Twok Aden Ahgupuk

George Twok Aden Ahgupuk

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George Twok Aden Ahgupuk

George Aden Ahgupuk, whose Native name was Twok meaning “man”, was born on October 8, 1911 in the Inupiat Native village of Shishmaref, Alaska, which is located in the Bering Sea approximately 90 nautical miles East of Russia. George spent the early years of his life learning subsistence living skills, such as fishing and hunting, from his parents and village relatives. During the Winter of 1930, while hunting for ptarmigan George slipped on an icy area and broke his leg. Although his leg mended, it had not mended properly and in 1934 he developed a Tubercular infection that put him in the Kotzebue Hospital for treatment. This was the start of a new life for George

During his several months in the hospital, Twok doodled and sketched the scenes from his village life. Having no artist paper, these first works of art were on toilet paper! One of George’s nurses noticed his talent, and presented George with drawing paper, requesting that he make her some Christmas cards. With the money that he earned from these cards, he returned to the village realizing the potential to earn a living doing what he loved, drawing. Without access to paper or drawing supplies, he asked his mother for animal hides to draw on. Seal skin was the first medium, and became one of his trademarks.

Artwork by George Twok Aden Ahgupuk titled "shands polar dinner"

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