A solo exhibition will open at the gallery on January 24, 2020
My process of creation is a constant pursuit of freedom and vision for the present and future. Using Indigenous and non-Indigenous technologies and materials, I resist romanticization, categorization, and limitation.
I use my work to explore adaptation, resilience, survival, active cultural amnesia, dream, memory, cultural resurgence, and connection to and disconnection to the land.
Nicholas Galanin (b. 1979 Sitka, Alaska) examines the complexities of contemporary Indigenous identity, culture, and representation by employing a wide range of techniques in his conceptual approach. Influenced by his Tlingit and Unangax̂ (Aleut) ancestry, Galanin has trained extensively in both traditional and contemporary practices in art, creating a synthesis of elements between the two. He deftly navigates “the politics of cultural representation,” while embedding incisive observation and reflection into his oftentimes provocative work. Galanin works to redress the widespread misappropriation of Indigenous visual culture, the impact of colonialism and cultural amnesia while simultaneously engaging past, present, and future. Exposing intentionally obscured collective memory and barriers to acquisition of knowledge, he reclaims Indigenous narrative and creative agency, while demonstrating contemporary Indigenous art as a continually evolving practice.
Speaking through multiple visual, sonic, and tactile languages, Galanin’s concepts determine his processes, which include sculpture, installation, photography, and textile-based work. In White Noise, American Prayer Rug, a version of which was exhibited at the 2019 Whitney Biennial in New York, a woven image of static on a television set offers a critical analysis of contemporary American culture’s relationship with white noise used to drown out unwanted sounds and mask alternate voices. Galanin’s The Value of Sharpness: When it Falls offers hatchets as a symbol of Indigenous toolmaking recreated in delicate, delftware-patterned ceramic. The material reflects the restriction of Indigenous sovereignty by settler legislation only tolerant of Indigenous people as fragile and delicate. Tapping into multiple influences, Galanin’s work is a fusion of elements that include cultural continuance, criticality, vision, and advocacy for social, political, and environmental issues.
Peter Blum Gallery welcomes Nicholas Galanin and we are delighted to have him join the gallery.
Nicholas Galanin (b. 1979) lives and works in Sitka, Alaska. He earned his BFA at London Guildhall University, his MFA at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand, and he has apprenticed with master carvers and jewelers. Galanin participated in the 2019 Whitney Biennial and the 2017 Venice Biennale in the Native American Pavilion, he will participate in the 2020 Biennale of Sydney. Galanin’s work is in such permanent collections as the Anchorage Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery among others.