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 James Kivetoruk Moses  (1900 - 1982)

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Lived/Active: Alaska      Known for: naive animal, genre-Inuit

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James Kivetoruk Moses
An example of work by James Kivetoruk Moses
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in 1900 near Cape Espenberg at the south entrance to Kotzebue Sound in Alaska, James Moses became known for his drawing and painting of people, places, and events that he knew about first hand. Many of his themes included shamans, Eskimo legends, and the coming of white men to Alaska. Often for an additional five dollars, a buyer could get an interpretive statement by his wife, Bessie Moses. He used a variety of media, primarily ink, watercolor, or oil-based pencil on paper or poster board. His style was realistic, and skillful shading gave a sense of depth to his work.

Moses was orphaned at a young age and raised by an uncle who lived by trapping and hunting. He had little formal education, and at age 14 began a job at the Magid store in Deering. He did drawing in his spare time, and the wife of the store owner was so impressed she sent the drawings to Fairbanks for people to see.

As a young adult, he was more interested in hunting and trapping than art, but in 1953, he had a severe leg injury in a plane crash, and resumed his art interest while recovering. From that time, his drawings were his main source of income.

In 1974, Moses had a stroke and several surgeries, which diminished his output, and by 1978, he had ceased working. He and his wife had five children, all whom died before their parents.

His wife, Bessie Ahgupuk, is the sister of the also famous Inupiat Eskimo Artist, George Aden Ahgupuk.

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James Moses is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Notable Alaska

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