Peter Williams

Peter Williams

He // Him // His

[ID: A young Yup’ik man smiles holding up a fish as he stands in a red skiff with blue water and snow-capped mountains in the background. He has dark long hair and a beard and is wearing a plaid shirt.]

Culture Bearer, Artist, Designer, and Educator
Sitka, AK
2022 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Rasmuson Foundation.

Peter Williams (Yup’ik) is a culture bearer, artist, designer, and educator based in Alaska. Williams hand-sewn works repurpose skin from self-harvested traditional foods, bridging worlds of Indigenous art and subsistence.

He completed artist residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute and the Institute of American Indian Arts and has guest lectured and/or taught skin sewing at Yale University, Stanford University, UCLA, the Portland Art Museum, and the Alaska State Museum, among other venues. His art has been shown at museums and galleries across North America.

His presentations at New York Fashion Week and Fashion Week Brooklyn in 2015 and 2016 led to profiles in The Guardian and The New York Times. He coproduced the documentary Harvest: Quyurciq, which received a Native Peoples Action project grant and screened internationally. In 2018–21, Williams became both a Cultural Capital Fellow and a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow; he also received a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award as well as Luce Indigenous Knowledge community project funding.

Portrait photo by Colin Russell.

  • Artwork by Peter Williams
    Seasons' Transitions, 2019. Seal, otter, thread, dimensions variable.
    [ID: Twelve small squares made of sewn furs and skins of different colors and textures. Circles and orbs repeat in many of the drawings creating patterns like moon craters or cells under a microscope.]
  • Artwork by Peter Williams
    The Endangered Myth, 2020. Sea otter, sheared sea otter, thread, Velcro, dimensions 72 × 108 × 2 inches.
    [ID: A wall hanging made of brown and gray furs layered on top of one another to form an abstract pattern.]
  • Artwork by Peter Williams
    Fishskin Study 1: Reciprocity, 2020. Sockeye salmon skin, dental floss, dimensions 12 × 12 × 2.5 inches.
    [ID: A canvas covered in snakeskin. The scaly strips are cut into large geometric shapes and sewn together. A large diamond pattern is placed at the center of the canvas.]
Artwork by Peter Williams Artwork by Peter Williams Artwork by Peter Williams