Our Friday Night program Coastal Trade Routes honours the vast community networks that connect our stories up and down the west coast. Through the refinement and mastery of our dug-out canoes, coastal people’s cultivated nation to nation relationships that wove our bloodlines together generation after generation. This evening we welcome two powerhouse artists from the northern coastline to share some insight into their work and world views.
Nicholas Galanin (Yeil Ya-Tseen) will be sharing a slideshow of his creative art practice: “I am inspired by generations of Tlingit & Unangax creativity and I contribute to this wealthy conversation through active curiosity. There is no room in this exploration for the tired prescriptions of the ‘Indian Art World’ and its institutions. Through creating I assert my freedom.” Nicholas’ work is bold, fearless and critical of the the commodification of First Nations culture in the current marketplace. Prepare to be jostled out of your current assumptions about “Native Art”.
Marianne Nicholson (‘Tayagila’ogwa) will be sharing her research on the role carved work plays in our ancestral governance systems and the impact European trade relations have on how we ‘value’ the carving arts today. Marianne’s lengthy historic perspective allows us to retrace our steps and better understand how vast collections of ancestral items ended up on the marketplace and into museum display. Marianne’s creative work invites us to reconsider our definition of “art” but also how we think of our relationship to land, waters, and Indigenous resurgence. “My work stems from a strong belief in the value of Indigenous philosophies and ways of being on the land. My practice is an attempt to manifest these philosophies into contemporary spaces and conversations.”
Nicholas Galanin (Yeil Ya-Tseen): was born in Sitka, Alaska, he has struck an intriguing balance between his origins and the course of his practice. Having trained extensively in ‘traditional’ as well as ‘contemporary’ approaches to art, he pursues them both in parallel paths. His stunning bodies of work simultaneously preserve his culture and explore new perceptual territory. Galanin studied at the London Guildhall University, where he received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with honors in Jewelry Design and Silversmithing. At Massey University in New Zealand he earned a Master’s degree in Indigenous Visual Arts. Valuing his culture as highly as his individuality, Galanin has created an unusual path for himself. He deftly navigates “the politics of cultural representation”, as he balances both ends of the aesthetic spectrum. With a fiercely independent spirit, Galanin has found the best of both worlds and has given them back to his audience in stunning form.
Marianne Nicholson (‘Tayagila’ogwa): is a multi-disciplinary artist and ancestral scholar of Scottish and Dzawada’enuxw First Nations descent. The Dzwada’enuxw People come from Gwa’yi (Kingcome) River and are a part of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Her training encompasses both traditional Kwakwaka’wakw forms and culture and Western European based art practice. She has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (1996), a Masters in Fine Arts (1999), a Masters in Linguistics and Anthropology (2005) and a PhD in Linguistics and Anthropology (2013) at the University of Victoria. Almost 10 years ago Marianne pushed her creative voice into the public arena by painting a 40 ft pictograph of a copper shield on the side of a cliff at the mouth of Kingcome Inlet (her home community). She hasn’t held back since, exhibiting her artwork locally, nationally and internationally as a painter, photographer and installation artist. Her practice engages with issues of First Nation’s histories and politics arising from a passionate involvement in cultural revitalization and the active envisioning of long term sustainability for coastal communities.