Sonya Kelliher-Combs was raised in the Northwest Alaska community of Nome. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Arizona State University. Through her mixed media painting and sculpture, Kelliher-Combs offers a chronicle of the ongoing struggle for self-definition and identity in the Alaskan context. Her work has been shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions in Alaska and the contiguous United States, including the national exhibition Changing Hands 2: Art without Reservation, the international exhibition Arts from the Arctic, and Hide at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. In 2007, Kelliher-Combs was awarded the prestigious Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art, and she is a recipient of the 2005 Anchorage Mayors Arts Award. Her work is included in the collections of the Anchorage Museum, Alaska State Museum, University of Alaska Museum of the North, and the Eiteljorg Museum.
Painters & Sculptors Grant, 2017
I live in a modern world, but I still depend on the cultural traditions and values of our people, including respect for land, animals, the sea and fellow humans. I strive to create works that carry on these values and address the persistent importance of traditional knowledge.”