Native Alaskan artist Sam Dimmick with one of the pieces he brought to 2019's Indian Art Market. Credit: NHMU
By Riley Black
Art is not only a pleasure for the eyes. As Native Alaskan artist Sam Dimmick reminds us, art connects people over time and space.
Dimmick, the Best in Show award winner of this year’s Indian Art Market, traces his work back through those who taught him. “I had five teachers, all from Alaska except for one,” Dimmick says. That other teacher was Lee Milot, a member of the Nez Perce who traveled to Alaska during the 1960s to both learn and teach from Native Alaskans. Dimmick learned directly from Milot, honing his carving skills. “Everything I do represents the people before me, not only in tradition but the people who took the time to teach,” Dimmick says. “I honor them with my heart every day.”
Those threads continue into the future. Of the Art Market, Dimmick says “One of the reasons I go to these things is to see other people and learn.” The different skills and traditions that many bring to one place is inspirational, and in turn can create new connections with others. “I didn’t realize when I was younger that this was a lifelong teaching thing,” Dimmick says, with each creation bringing new opportunity to bring people together.
Riley Black is the author of Skeleton Keys, My Beloved Brontosaurus, Prehistoric Predators, and a science writer for the Natural History Museum of Utah, a part of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Our mission is to illuminate the natural world and the place of humans within it. In addition to housing outstanding exhibits for the public, NHMU is a research museum. Learn more.