Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will open a new exhibit celebrating the rich traditions and real-life experiences of Alaska Native female artists during First Friday this week.
The exhibit, Native Women’s Art: Drawn From the Spirits of Ancestors Within, features nearly 60 works by 56 artists from Alaska’s major Indigenous groups, including the Alutiiq, Athabaskan, Inupiat, Yupik, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.
Most of the pieces were made by contemporary artists, while a few represent old masters whose pieces exist in SHI’s ethnographic collection.
Through the show, SHI is honoring the ingenuity and strength of Alaska Native women who continue to create and innovate. Their achievements continue despite centuries of colonization, oppression and unprecedented times, wrote guest curator Alison Bremner, an award-winning Tlingit artist.
“From the earring boom on Instagram to contemporary collage to traditional weavings, we invite visitors to consider the powerful perspectives presented in each piece. These select pieces offer a representation of the mastery, discipline and commitment that exist within our villages and communities,” Bremner wrote.
SHI’s representation of Alaska Native women statewide is part of its goal to promote cross-cultural understanding, said SHI President Rosita Worl, noting the institute this month also unveiled its new installation, Faces of Alaska, which honors the state’s major Indigenous groups.
“Alaska Native women have helped carry our Indigenous groups’ origin stories, histories and traditional knowledge for thousands of years through ancient art practices,” Worl said. “Through the exhibit, we wanted to honor Alaska’s Indigenous female artists by holding up the mastery of their work for all to see.”
Alaska is home to many more Native artists than those who are featured in the exhibit.
The exhibit opens at 4:30 pm, Friday, May 5, and will run through Dec. 1, 2023. There is no charge to see the exhibit on First Friday.
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