Bunnell Street Arts Center’s collaboration with Alaska Native artists begins yearlong tour

The tour began May 19 in Portland, Oregon

Homer’s Bunnell Street Arts Center opened a national tour, “Protection: Adaptation and Resistance,” at the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, May 19.

Several participating artists from Alaska joined curator Asia Freeman for the opening event. Artists visiting Portland included Lily Hope, Dimi Macheras, Holly Nordlum, Linda Starbard, Katelyn Stiles, Elli Tansy and Amber Webb. There are a total of 52 artists in the show.

Event details on the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation website provides more information on the attending artists. Lily Hope was born and raised in Juneau. She is Tlingit Indian, of the Raven moiety. Following her matrilineal line, she’s of her grandmother’s clan, the T’akdeintaan. Lily’s contemporary works in textile and paper collage weave together Ravenstail and Chilkat design. She is one of few designers of dancing blankets. She teaches both finger-twined styles extensively in person (and virtually since COVID-19), in the Yukon Territory, down the coast of Southeast Alaska, into Washington and Oregon.

Ahtna artist Dimi Macheras was raised in the Chickaloon Village Tribe, east of Anchorage. He wrote and illustrated the graphic novel and Alaska adventure series “Chickaloonies” in collaboration with Casey Silver. The graphic novel series is based on traditional Ahtna stories and mythology.

Yup’ik artist Amber Web is from Dillingham and was slated to lead a workshop on hood-making. In 2018, she was awarded a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Project Award for a 12-foot qaspeq to honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). The hooded garment was adorned with portraits of over 200 MMIW.

Katelyn Stiles from Sitka is an artist, scholar and PhD candidate in Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of California, Davis. She studies herring relatives and interconnected ecosystems.

Holly Mititquq Nordlum will share her ongoing work to revitalize and document the tradition of Inuit tattoos in her Tupik Mi project with support from an Art Matters grant and a Humanities Forum grant.

Protection: Adaptation and Resistance will remain in Portland through the summer and then the exhibit will travel to Tulsa Living Arts in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the fall; the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the winter; and will conclude at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau from May until early October 2024.

Between the fall of 2019 and the winter of 2021-2022, Bunnell presented five workshops and four mentorships for Indigenous artist-mentors and learners. The projects included Herring Protector dance robes, cedar bark hats, birch bark baskets, seal oil stone lamps and graphic design.

The workshops and crafts created within them were supported by CARES funds through the Alaska Community Foundation and by the CIRI Foundation.