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New library mural celebrates diversity, cultures

From the Cornerstone....

A new mural will be unveiled Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 4:30 p.m., on the main floor of the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library. UAF selected Alaska Native artist Percy Avugiak to create a mural for installation at the UAF Troth Yeddha’ campus. The mural reflects diversity, cultural celebration and success, and represents the past, present and future of Alaska Native peoples. The diversity of Alaska’s Indigenous cultures from across the state is captured in the design as well as UAF’s inclusivity that brings together all Alaskans.

The mural also provides an opportunity to highlight the significant contributions of Indigenous knowledge at the university. Elders and Indigenous knowledge bearers inform and help shape effective research and academic learning. They carry the history, stories, skills and knowledge that are important to local and global knowledge.

The artist, Percy Avugiak, is Iñupiaq and Yup’ik. He was born in Bethel, grew up in Chefornak and currently lives in Eagle River. He graduated from UAF with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Native arts and painting. Avugiak enjoys painting scenes from Alaska. His early paintings are whimsical Alaska animals enjoying different scenes. Other works depict abstract Alaska lifestyles, activities, and Native dancing and singing. He also specializes in traditional Yup’ik mask making, wood carvings, ivory carvings, acrylic paintings, drawing and jewelry making.

“Often referencing Alaska Native history, my works explore the changing relationships between traditional art and contemporary art.  My works re-introduce the art of Alaskan Native ancestors, and educate people about our fascinating views and explore the diversity of Alaska.” Avugiak said.

The mural is housed in the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, Alaska’s largest library, with more than 1.7 million items, including books, periodicals, films, sound recordings, microforms, government documents, maps, manuscripts and archival materials, as well as electronic access to more than 20 million titles worldwide.

The Rasmuson Library has one of the world’s finest collections of Alaska and polar regions materials including books, periodicals, photography, manuscripts, films, oral histories, rare books and maps. The collections are centered on Alaska but include many items about the circumpolar North and Antarctica.

Elmer E. Rasmuson was born in Yakutat, Alaska, in 1909. He graduated from Harvard University in 1930. Rasmuson returned to Alaska in 1943 as president of the National Bank of Alaska, the first statewide banking system in Alaska. Active in public affairs, Rasmuson was mayor of Anchorage, chairman of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. and a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 1950-1969.

For more information contact Sandra Kowalski at or 474-7089.

This page was last modified on September 13, 2019