First American Art Magazine No. 22, Spring 2019 - Page 18

SEVEN DIRECTIONS MELISSA SHAGINOFF A N AHTNA ATHABASCAN AND PAIUTE from Nay'dini'aa Na' Kayax' (Chickaloon Native Village) and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Melissa Shaginoff grew up on the southern coast of Alaska where she learned the lifeways of her cousins, the Dena’ina people. She is an artist and the curator of contemporary Indigenous art and culture at the Anchorage Museum where her projects revolve around identity and representation. Shaginoff sees her museum work as an act of making space—space for Indigenous change, for an Indigenous presence, and for Indigenous futures. She partici- pated in the Sheldon Jackson Museum Native Artist Residency in Sitka, Alaska, and the Island Mountain Arts Toni Onley Artists’ Project in Wells, British Columbia. She also curated artwork at Ahtnahwt’aene’ Nay’dini’aa den Gathering Place in Chickaloon, Alaska, and co-curated the group exhibition, INTRODUCING: Alaska Native PLACE, in Anchorage, Alaska. Shaginoff ’s artwork is in the permanent collections of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Palmer Museum of Art, and Pratt Museum. NORTH: In Finland, contemporary Alaska Native art is being shown on a significant scale. In collaboration between the Anchorage Museum and the Rovaniemi Art Museum, the exhibition Place of Origin: Contemporary Alaska Native Art is currently on view at the Korundi House of Culture. Representing both Alaska’s great cultural diversity as well as its parallels to Northern communities and Indigenous peoples of Sápmi, Place of Origin embraces a decolonial perspective of the North. The exhibition features many notable artists including George Ahgupuk (Iñupiaq, 1911–2001), Kathleen Carlo-Kendall (Koyukon Athabaskan), Sonya Kelliher-Combs (Iñupiaq- Athabascan), Nicolas Galanin (Tlingit-Unangax ̂ ), Jim Schoppert (Tlingit, 1947–1992), Rebecca Lyon (Dena’ina-Alutiiq), and Erica Lord (Athabascan-Iñupiaq), to name a few. In Place of Origin, the artworks chosen to embody the Indigenous experience of colonization and recognize Alaska Native understanding of their home and place. SOUTH: This summer PBS KIDS will launch the animated series Molly of Denali, the first nationally distributed children’s animated series featuring an Alaska Native lead character. The series is important not only because of the Alaska Native portrayal, but also because of the Alaska Native consultation in the making of the show. From Alaska Native voice actors to producers, scriptwriters, advisors, fellows, and interns, Molly of Denali is largely about Alaska Native people representing them- selves in media and, perhaps for the first time, representing a dynamic depiction of a 21st-century Alaska Native girl. 16 | WWW.FIRSTAMERICANARTMAGAZINE.COM