He // Him // His

[ID: A portrait of a man in a seal skin jacket on the shores of Aak’w Kwaan Territory. His face is stoic, as he looks directly ahead. Under his fur hood is a tuft of black hair peeking out, and his face has dark stubble around the chin.]

Indigenous Musician
Bethel, AK
2022 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Rasmuson Foundation.

One of the main impetuses behind Stephen Qacung Blanchett’s entry into the world of performance art was his own mixed cultural heritage. Qacung is the son of a strong Yup’ik Inuit mother, who raised him in an extremely traditional way, and a strong African American father, who taught him to be proud of his Black heritage, which also shaped his upbringing. As he has done many times in his artistic work, he had to blend and mix his own story and experiences to bring his life into completion.

He is a global citizen whose Yup’ik and Black roots guide his leadership and artistic vision. He has served in leadership roles with the Alaska Native Heritage Center, First Alaskans Institute, Pamyua, and other arts, culture, and community service entities. He is proud to chair the Advancing Indigenous Performance program at Western Arts Alliance. He has been recognized with a 2019 dance/USA fellowship, 2016 and 2019 Rasmuson Foundation artist fellowships, and a 2015 National Artist Fellowship and 2021 SHIFT award through the Native Arts and Culture Foundation. Qacung is a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage with Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and Alaska Native studies.

Portrait photo by Konrad Frank.