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Alutiiq Museum Launches ‘Alutiiq Seal’ to Identify Original Native Art as Authentic

Sep 9, 2020 | Alaska Native, Media & Arts, News, Retail, Small Business

Alutiiq artist Hanna Sholl designed the logo for the Alutiiq Seal program.

Hanna Sholl | Alutiiq Museum

The Alutiiq Museum launched an effort to promote the work of Alutiiq artists and help consumers identify authentic Alutiiq-made works. The Alutiiq Seal program, which debuted September 1, will maintain a registry of Alutiiq visual artists. Every registered artist will receive a set of tags to use in labeling their art. The tag, or Alutiiq Seal, will identify the work as authentically Alutiiq.

“It can be tricky to tell if a work is genuine Native art,” said Alutiiq Museum Executive Director April Laktonen Counceller. “Clear labeling can help buyers understand which works are crafted by native people and which are not. We are telling people to look for the Alutiiq Seal as a mark of authenticity. The Alutiiq Seal emblem will help Alutiiq artists distinguish themselves from others and help consumers avoid phony Native art.”

The program emblem features the stylized face of a seal. Alutiiq artist Hanna Sholl designed the graphic with inspiration from ancestral rock art.

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“We worked with our Cultural Arts Community—a volunteer group of Alutiiq artists—to design the program and its emblem,” said Counceller. “The committee liked the play on words between a seal of authority and a harbor seal, an important animal in Alutiiq culture. Hanna’s drawing takes that idea and shows it in a traditional style. She uses elements and rounded lines from Alutiiq petroglyphs to draw a seal face.”

Any Alutiiq artist may join the registry by completing an application on the Alutiiq Museum’s website. There is no fee to participate, and the registry is open to Alutiiq artists wherever they live. The Alutiiq Museum Store will maintain the list of registered artists and publish their names to its website.

The development of the Alutiiq Seal program was supported by a grant from the Alaska Community Foundation’s Alaska Native Social Justice Fund.


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