Ronald Apangalook, whose Eskimo name is Qaygeggutkaq (Qay), literally means "put on top." Qay is a Siberian Yupik Eskimo, part Tlingit, born in Gambell, on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Unlike many of the native people who had to leave the home village in order to get an education, Ron was fortunate in that he was able to receive an education in Gambell. In 1984, he was a member of the Gambell High School team that participated in a nationwide competition dealing with future problem solving. His team came in first. Ron humorously adds that he has been unable to solve any of his problems since then.
Art was one of Ron's worst classes in high school. He says he couldn't picture what he wanted to carve and felt he had no talent. In 1991, he began carving while attending college in Anchorage, motivated by the need to support his family. He works primarily with walrus tusk ivory and bone. He is noted mostly for his figurines which include otters, bears, cormorants, hunters, polar bears, hunters and walrus.
Apangalook tries to create pieces that represent his Siberian side but also represent his other ancestry, conveying a spiritual side to his art and creating a link between the viewer and his culture.