Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_Sealaska Heritage announces winners of 2022 Juried Art Competition, Youth Art Exhibit

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June 8, 2022

(Juried Art Show and Competition Catalog)

Thirteen artists have taken top prizes and one honorable mention at Sealaska Heritage Institute’s eleventh biennial Juried Art Show and Competition, and three young artists also placed in SHI’s fourth biennial Juried Youth Art Exhibit.

Tlingit artist Káakaxaawulga Jennifer Younger won Best of Show and Best of Carving and Sculpture Division for her piece Mussel.

“The creativity of this piece is extraordinary,” commented co-juror Shgendootan Robyn Kay George. “The varying lines on the outer shell show knowledge of real mussel shells. Beautiful, creative and excellent craftsmanship.”

 “Different textures, different forms — it all works,” added co-juror Mick Beasley.

Tlingit artist James Johnson won the Best of Formline Design award for his Transforming Raven Box.

Other winners in the Juried Art Show by division and category:

Carving and Sculpture Division (wood and metal categories): Tlingit artist Kaax̱ Tséen Herb Sheakley won the Best of Wood Category for Lukakuwóox̱’ and Tlingit artist William (Lee) Burkhart won the Best of Metal Category for his piece Kéet, as well as an Honorable Mention for Eye of The Beholder.

2D and Relief Carving Division: Haida and Aleut artist Gregory Frisby won Best of Division for Wasco Cloak, which was also awarded second place in the Best of Formline awards.

Sewing Division (skin and fur, beadwork and vest categories): Tlingit and Haida artist Aanchgwanutk’ Janice Jackson won Best of Division and Best of Skin & Fur for her piece Great Grandmother’s Spirit; Tlingit artist Jill Kaasteen Meserve won Best of Beadwork for her piece Resiliency in Connections: Mini Cellphone Octopus Bag; and Tlingit artist Kooseen Janice Hotch won Best of Vest Sewing for her Tlingit Seal Hide Vest.

Weaving Division (Chilkat inspired, Ravenstail and basketry categories): Tlingit artist Gunashaa Lisa Fisher won Best of Division for her piece The Fishing Grounds; Tlingit artist Wooshkindein Da.áat Lily Hope won Best of Chilkat-Inspired Weaving for her piece Clarissa’s Feast Dish; Tsimshian artist Ksm Lx’Sg̱a̱n Ruth Hallows won Best of Ravenstail for Our Sisters Dance With Us; Haida artist Kung K̠ayangs Marlene Liddle won the Best of Basketry Category for her piece Golden Glow; and Tlingit, Haida and Aleut artist Ḵaatuwdu.oo Nicole Carle won an Honorable Mention for Destination.

Endangered Arts Division (spruce root basketry category): Haida artist Xay Kuyaas Ariane Medley took Best of Division in Endangered Arts for her piece Ancestral Style Spruce Root Lidded Basket.

Other pieces selected for exhibit included: Sgaan ts'al tl'asdang (Double finned killer whale) by Kún Kuyáang Karl Hoffman, In Time by Alison Bremner and Cole Speck, Raven Bringing Light to the World by Jeffery Sheakley, Giving Wealth by Shkáx̱ Kawdulaak Andrew Tripp, Ch'iyáash by Kaax̱ Tséen Herb Sheakley, T'aawáḵ by Kaax̱ Tséen Herb Sheakley, Eagle Bowl by James Johnson, Sea Lion Helmet by James Johnson, Raven Bowl by Naa k'ool dzaaz eesh William Pfeifer, Raven Transformational Mask by Naa k'ool dzaaz eesh William Pfeifer, and Enchanted by Ḵaatuwdu.oo Nicole Carle, Memorial Beats by Wooshkindein Da.áat Lily Hope, Women's Leggings by Gunashaa Lisa Fisher, Our Ravenstail Face Mask by Xay Kuyaas Ariane Medley, and Basket by Merle Andersen.

Jurors Shgendootan Robyn Kay George and Michael “Mick” Beasley reviewed the pieces blindly, meaning the names of artists who submitted pieces were not disclosed.

Juror George said SHI’s Juried Art Show provides an amazing opportunity for artists to reach a wider audience with their work, noting that it has launched the careers of many up and coming future artist stars.

“This year we saw an expansive range of art, from drums to sculptures to headbands--from functional regalia to purely artistic stand-alone pieces. It was an honor to serve this year as a juror and especially exciting to get to see all the work before the rest of the world.”

SHI’s Juried Youth Art Exhibit includes 20 objects made by 15 high school students from Anchorage, Angoon, Craig, Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Metlakatla. Haida artist Git Kuyaa Kinsie Young of Anchorage won first place for Lightning Apron, Tsimshian artist Alicia Feak-Lent of Metlakatla won second place for Gertie, and Tlingit and Tsimshian artist Sean Guthrie of Ketchikan won third place for Northwest Coast.

The Youth Art Exhibit juror was Jackson Polys (Stephen Paul Jackson), a Tlingit artist and educator. In a statement, he addressed the young artists: “Seeing your work submitted for the exhibit is incredibly encouraging and inspiring. The artworks reveal exciting developments of your artistic voice, as you experiment and refine through drawing, painting, carving, sewing, and weaving to create works that surprise us… Overall one can sense that your growing skill is giving you freedom to express both individually and to contribute to our cultural resurgence.”

The youth exhibit will be on display at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center through June 24. The Juried Art Show exhibit will be on display in the Nathan Jackson Gallery at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau through Dec. 3. The gallery also features SHI’s exhibit, Our Grandparents’ Names on the Land, which explores ancient place names and the innovative inventions that were used to catch halibut and salmon.

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: Kathy Dye, SHI Media and Publications Deputy Director, 907.321.4636,

Caption, from top: “Mussel” by Tlingit artist Káakaxaawulga Jennifer Younger, Best of Show and Best of Carving and Sculpture Division; “Transforming Raven Box” by Tlingit artist James Johnson, Best of Formline Design;“Lightning Apron” by Haida artist Git Kuyaa Kinsie Young, first place, Juried Youth Art Exhibit. Note: News outlets are welcome to use these images for coverage of this event. For a higher resolution imagea, contact