Brian Walker II

King Island Inupiat and Deg Hit’an Athabascan

GRANTEE:  Brian Walker II
NATIVE HERITAGE:  King Island and Deg Hit’an Athabascan
LOCATION:  Dena’ina Ełnena (Anchorage, Alaska)
AWARD:  2022 LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists
DISCIPLINE:  Traditional Arts

Brian Walker II’s early life was based in an urban Indigenous existence while being taught traditional knowledge from his family. Making trips out of Anchorage and into the land to gather and harvest, he attained invaluable experiences and relationships with the animals and people of Alaska. Tradition serves as a backdrop for his practice, using his own journey of discovery in his Indigenous Spirituality, Walker consistently works at finding ways to convey his experiences. He strives to model this spirituality to his community and Indigenous youth in hopes of promoting communal conversations.

Walker’s work is rooted in carving traditional Inupiaq masks and performing King Island dances with his family. He is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, has apprenticed with renowned Alaska Native artists Alvin Amason and Perry Eaton, and interned with the Walt Disney Imagineering company. Walker currently works at Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Fab Lab as an educator, modeling Indigenous identity work amongst urban Indigenous youth. His work revolves around Indigenous Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math [S.T.E.A.M] curriculum for students.

I am the physical embodiment of my ancestors. Therefore, what they would do is what I already am!

—Brian Walker II (King Island and Deg Hit’an Athabascan)


In Walker’s LIFT project, Modeling Traditional Spirituality to Facilitate Contemporary Conversations, he will carve five unique masks, exploring spirituality and deep-rooted cultural connection to the land, confronting narratives surrounding Indigenous spirituality by utilizing once deemed “demonic” mask-making. The project will include recording and archiving elder interviews which will be made available to the community. The masks will be showcased in Anchorage.

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