Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on early work of Tlingit artist Nathan Jackson

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Community event is free, open to the public

July 3, 2019

(Flyer) (About Nathan Jackson)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a free lecture next week on Nathan Jackson, the famed Alaskan Tlingit artist and subject of the institute’s current exhibition, Yéil Yádi—Raven Child: A Nathan Jackson Retrospective.

The lecture, North-by-Southwest: Modernism and Nathan Jackson’s Early Work  by Christopher Green, a Ph.D. candidate in art history, will focus on Jackson’s early career in the 1960s. In that decade, Jackson spent time in Alaska and New York and at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where he experimented with modernist forms and principles while refining his understanding of classic Tlingit style, Green wrote.

Jackson’s portraits, paintings, prints and experiments in textile design combined Tlingit motifs with expressive color fields and abstract space. His translation of these principles to his own students during workshops at Alaska Indian Arts, Inc. nearly instigated a revolution in Northwest Coast printmaking, garnering support from collectors as far as Los Angeles, before Jackson settled into his dedicated pursuit of traditional Tlingit design.

The lecture is scheduled from noon-1 pm, Wednesday, July 10, at Sealaska Heritage, 105 S. Seward Street in Juneau. The lecture will be videotaped and put online. Everyone is welcome.

Green is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His research focuses on modern and contemporary Native American art, the representation and display of Indigenous culture, and primitivisms of the historic and neo-avant-garde. His critical writing can be found in Art in AmericafriezeThe Brooklyn Rail, and Hyperallergic, while his research has been published in ARTMarginsWinterthur Portfolio, BC Studies, and ab-Original, among others. He recently co-edited issue 11 of SHIFT: Graduate Journal of Visual and Material Culture. He is currently a 2018-2019 Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of the American Indian. He will be the 2019-2020 Dedalus Foundation Dissertation Fellow in New York.

This program is made possible by a grant from the Alaska Native Education Program.

About Nathan Jackson

Nathan Jackson, Yéil Yádi (Raven Child) and leader of the Lukaax.ádi clan, practices traditional Tlingit Northwest Coast art as a carver, painter, and designer, creating masks, bentwood bowls, panels, houseposts, totem poles and jewelry.

Nathan's artwork can be found in major museums and collections across Alaska, the nation, and the world. He has placed dozens of totem poles in outdoor and interior locations and has major panels on view in public facilities, private businesses and homes. Part of the landscape of Southeast Alaska, his art has accompanied him as an ambassador for his culture, from Ketchikan to London to Kobe. Nathan has made numerous masks and ritual objects for use in clan ceremonies and is celebrated for passing on his knowledge to succeeding generations.

In 1988, Nathan received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Alaska, Southeast. In 1995, he was one of 12 recipients of a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award, the nation’s highest honor in traditional arts.  In 2009, Nathan was honored as the Rasmuson Foundation’s Distinguished Artist of the Year.  He continues to carve large and small projects in the carving shed at the Saxman Totem Park outside of Ketchikan.

SHI’s current exhibit, in a space named for him, shows Jackson’s work from his earliest productions to his most recent, beginning from the early 1960s and spanning to the present day. The exhibit, in the Nathan Jackson Gallery, will be on display through Oct. 15, 2019.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,