Story49: The Painter and the Animator

Detail of "Inupiaq Tradition," a painting by Don Henry

“All of my fears may chase me down and swallow me up
Grind my bones into fodder but
I will rise out of the ashes
And conquer terror.”

These lines come from the spoken word poem that accompanies Vanessa Sweet’s short animated film, “Wild Woman.” They also describe the two artists featured in this month’s Story49.

Don Henry is a painter from Kotzebue. Vanessa Sweet lives in Shishmaref and makes animations. Both of them are practicing artists inspired by their own life experiences and the greater Alaskan experience. And both have pushed past self doubt in order to “rise out of the ashes” and create. In this episode, we’ll find out how they became artists and, to the best of our ability, “listen” to some art!

To hear all that plus the rest of the poem above, tune in to Story49 on KNOM (780 AM, 96.1 FM) on Sunday, June 18th, at 6:00pm, and then again on Thursday, June 22nd, at 3:00pm. You can also listen online using the audio player above.

If you or someone you know has a story to share, contact KNOM at 443-5221 or by email at

Story49: Sharing your story, your voice, your Alaska.

You can see more work from Don Henry and Vanessa Sweet by clicking through the gallery below.