This multi-artist performance speaks to the commodification of culture and involves a variety of Alaska Native artists and culture bearers.
Billy Billiken is a character of performance art created by an Alaskan Native man. Billy is the kind of being that has an all-knowing approach necessary in supplying answers solely based on life experience. Much of his character comes from flack his grandparents gave him and watching the weather traveling the ice roads of Alaska and beyond. Billy Billiken has been educated in the "been there, done that" philosophy. His answers are genuinely offsetting, sometimes with a chuckle of dark humor or a simple "straight out no truth lie."
The direction of my artwork is the combination of present day events and past-time beliefs of social structure. This awareness of what is happening in our current society and how we acknowledge its future is what interests me the most. Always using nature and the cultures I am raised with, my artistic vision enables me to create a reality for the viewers to participate in, allowing a sense of immediacy and presence to the subject matter. It is my rendition of what contemporary art consists of, and its uses to inform the viewer of my sense of being, and the influences surrounding all of us today.
A man purchases an "Eskimo Kiss" administered by Sarah Owens for $1.99 from Sonya Kelliher-Combs.
Elizabeth Ellis and Drew Michael
Cultural assimilation occurs when members of one cultural group adopt the language, practices and beliefs of another group, often losing aspects of their traditional culture in the process.
Through assimilation, we take in new information or experiences and incorporate them into our existing ideas. The process is somewhat subjective, because we tend to modify experience or information somewhat to fit in with our preexisting beliefs.
Eve Ulimaugauraq Mendenhall
Affordable Eskimo memorabilia is produced in China. It’s ironic that visitors try to capture wonderful memories of the vast North and end up buying trinkets that are made in a different world.
When given this project I went to a very personal place. So many women men and children have personal stories of abuse in this beautiful wilderness, and I am no different. How to conceptualize that? How to make a cardboard box convey the meaning and emotion I felt? What would be a respectful way to explore an open dialogue about abuse and violence?
I have a story. I believe we all do. Entire communities are affected by this generation after generation. But whether it is your own story or the story of someone you know, we all have something to share. And through sharing, we create our new world.
This is what I invite you to do — share your thoughts, emotions and experiences. Write them on the box or on a page. Your words will then be cut out and given into the work and gradually this box will open up.
Because the more we share the more the box disappears.
Through the sharing of abuse, violence, personal pain, and our thoughts and experiences we can take away some of the hold they have on us. Sharing can be painful but it is also very freeing. Abuse hides behind doors and smiling faces, it lives in the shadows of our community.
Sharing is the first step to getting out. The more that is shared, the more the box opens and words rise into the branches as though being offered to the air.
In the end this piece will result in a communal fire where all of our words will be released.
To open dialogue within the community about the violence perpetuated on our people.
An interdisciplinary installation of a ceremonial qargi that exists in the space where the hyper-future meets the super-ancient, a liminal space where myths are born.
Holly Mititquq Nordlum
Preformed by Pricilla Hensley Holthouse.
This work addresses the stereotypes of native women including the degradation, exotification and exploitation that often define our sexual identity.
Holly Mititquq Nordlum, is an Inupiaq visual artist originally from Kotzebue, Alaska. Her work reflects where she comes from, but also who she is now as a Native person, an American, a mother, and a regular woman. Holly uses many artistic media: printmaking, painting, sculpture, and others to express her ideas about life and social issues both with the Native community and people in general.
Preformed by Pricilla Hensley Holthouse.