A collection of pieces by renowned contemporary Athabaskan mask maker Kathleen Carlo-Kendall and her apprentice, Chris Ehlers, will be on view at the Morris Thompson Center exhibit hall throughout May and June. In October, the two artists will return once more to the center with a special exhibit of new work that they are creating with support from the Native American Cultural Foundation.
Carlo-Kendall was born to the late Poldine and William “Bill” Carlo in Tanana and grew up in Fairbanks from the age of five. She started making her artwork at the Native Arts Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks with teacher Ron Senungetuk. She earned a BFA in Metalsmithing from UAF, and often combines her work in wood with metal. Her modern artwork sometimes symbolizes an event or spirit. Other times, she says, it is just what comes out of the shape of the wood.
Chris Ehlers is originally from Tucson, Arizona and has lived in Fairbanks for the past nine years. For most of his adult life, Chris worked as a general laborer but recently began wood carving after taking Native Arts classes at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has decided to explore his Dine (Navaho) heritage in his work under Carlo-Kendall’s mentorship.