Sven Haakanson, Jr.
Medium: Wood Carving, Photography, Silver Jewelry, and Logo Design
Born and raised in the Alutiiq village of Old Harbor, Sven is the son of Sven and Mary Haakanson. Sven has always loved working with wood. As a boy he remembers carving boats with his friends, although his formal study of carving began 19 years ago. As an anthropology graduate student at Harvard University, Sven studied rare collections of Alutiiq objects. He was particularly inspired by carvings and began to investigate their manufacture. His research took him from Harvard’s Peabody Museum to the Field Museum in Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and eventually, to museums across Europe. With ancestral knowledge in his grasp, he consulted Alutiiq Elders for carving advice. Larry Matfay and George Inga taught him to built traps, and Dennis Knagin and William Ignatin helped him to learn bow construction.
Sven approaches carving as an element of his cultural identity. In addition to ceremonial masks, which he has studied extensively, he creates functional objects to explore and express his Alutiiq heritage. He is also committed to teaching Alutiiq arts, sharing the knowlege he had accumulated as a way to keep Alutiiq culture vibrant and to promote cultural pride.
Today Sven lives with his family in the city of Kodiak. He maintains a wood working shop at his home.
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