Yup'ik Dancer Belt by Denise And Samuel Wallace (1997)
We believe this is the most important piece of Native American jewelry available on the market today. It is worthy of lengthy discussion and we hope you will contact us directly for more information. In the meantime, enjoy some photos of the whole belt, as well as straightforward shots of the fifteen main elements.
Comments from the artist, Denise:
The Yupik dances are some of the most entertaining in the communities of Alaska. The elders fully participate in the dances which start out lively but seem to escalate in energy and effort with a friendly competitive engagement which is mutually supportive and entertaining. In making this belt, Denise wanted to be able to communicate the action of the dancers and the magnificence of the Yupik style.
When the Wallaces made this belt they knew it would be their last belt. There are twenty major pieces which comprise this masterpiece and they did not feel that they wanted to put that much of a time and effort commitment into just one piece again. Denise feels that this belt is comparable to the Crossroads belt in that they are the two most highly complicated belts She and Samuel produced.
From the book "Arctic Transformations; the Jewelry of Denise and Samuel Wallace" by Lois Sherr Dubin: "Ten dancing Yup'ik figures with ten Yup'ik masks link the figures together. This belt was inspired by the exhibition "The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks-Agayuliyararput: Our Way of Making Prayer". The exhibition highlighted Yup'ik masks, garments, and dance regalia. In depicting the dancer, the Wallaces are making a statement about the strength of Native cultures as well as the responsibility of each generation "to reach out, tell your stories, carry on your culture", says Denise. "The dancers are a very important part of carrying on Native traditions...through dance, the past is brought forward, and that dance or song will be passed on to each generation."
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*As this item contains restricted materials, it cannot be shipped outside the USA