Nicholas Galanin

Primary Medium(s): 

Culture cannot be contained as it unfolds. My art enters this stream at many different points, looking backwards, looking forwards, generating its own sound and motion. I am inspired by generations of Tlingit creativity and contribute to this wealthy conversation through active curiosity. There is no room in this exploration for the tired prescriptions of the "Indian Art World" and its institutions. Through creating I assert my freedom.

Concepts drive my medium. I draw upon a wide range of indigenous technologies and global materials when exploring an idea. Adaptation and resistance, lies and exaggeration, dreams, memories and poetic views of daily life--these themes recur in my work, taking form through sound, texture, and image. Inert objects spring back to life; kitsch is reclaimed as cultural renewal; dancers merge ritual and rap. I am most comfortable not knowing what form my next idea will take, a boundless creative path of concept-based motion.

I work with concepts; the medium follows. In the business of this "Indian Art World," I have become impatient with the institutional prescription and its monolithic attempt to define culture as it unfolds. Native American Art cannot be commonly defined as our work moves freely through time. The viewer, collector, or curators’ definition will often convey more about themselves than that of the "Native Artist." In the past I have struggled with this title, though I now embrace my position as a contemporary indigenous artist with belief that some forms of resistance often carry equal amounts of persistence. My current collection of work presents visual experiences in hope of inspiring creative dialogue with the viewer. I often work with an intention to contribute towards contemporary cultural development. Through education and creative risk-taking, I hope to progress cultural awareness both in and out of this Indigenous world. Let us leave fucked up stereotypes. While moving forward, we liberate the Indian artist.

We would like to congratulate Nicholas Galanin on winning a United States Artists Rasmuson Fellowship for artist excellence. - The artist's personal site.
IAIA's Vision Project artist profile
Beatnation: Hip hop as Indigenous culture - The amazing piece, "Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan". If you have never seen this video piece combining music and dance, modern and traditional, you must watch it right now.
Youtube: Nicholas Galanin at Peabody Essex Museum. Nicholas Galanin discussing his video installation at PEM.
S’igeika’awu: Ghost
Nicholas Galanin Is Part of a Generation That Is Redefining “Native” at Hyperallergic