Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Artist Nicholas Galanin presented his art work to a crowd Friday as part of the University of Alaska Southeast Friday lecture series.
Galanin said he has been inspired by generations of Tlingit and Unangax creativity. His work includes jewelry, photographs, wood carvings, and petroglyphs or rock carvings.
The University of Alaska Southeast is in development of a Northwest Arts Program. They hope to offer classes in carving, basket weaving and other cultural art classes. Galanin is the first Artist in Residence at the university. He studied abroad in London and in New Zealand. Galanin is also working with others on a 40 foot Totem pole at Harbor View Elementary. He will also teach classes at the University next fall.
Galanin spoke on the importance of land and water to the history, and culture of his people. Some of his work comment on the treatment of Indigenous People in the past, and some speak on the violence that still goes on today. His pieces are in many museums including ones in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.
His work often explores a dialogue of change and identity between Native and non-Native, "We will open a container of wisdom that is left in our care. That container is our language, our dance, our visual culture, it's our stories. We are sovereign and free to continue to move through these spaces without restrictions or ideas of whether or not the culture is authentic enough, whether or not its romantic enough, we are allowed to experience and digest and move through the world as we choose."
Galanin was born in Sitka and as a young boy was influenced and inspired by his father and his work with jewelry and light metals. He learned silver-smithing and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at London Guildhall University. He also earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Indigenous visual arts at Massey University in New Zealand.