Teri Rofkar, whose Tlingit name is Chas' Koowu Tla'a, was born into the Raven Clan. As a young child, she was exposed to traditional methods of weaving by her grandmother. While too busy and impatient at the time to sit down and weave, these experiences later inspired her to seek out elders in her community to learn these techniques. Today, she often refers to herself as a "basket case” because she weaves all the time, apart from when she is in the forest harvesting materials. She is known world-wide as a teacher and researcher and as a weaver of the once-lost art form of the Raven's Tail Robe. She says, "I am following the steps of ancestors, striving to recapture the woven arts of an indigenous people. The ancient ways of gathering spruce root, with respect for the tree's life and spirit, are a rich lesson in today's world. Traditional methods of gathering and weaving natural materials help me link past, present, and future. Links with a time when things were slower paced, a time when even a child’s berry basket was decorated with care. It is through sharing and exploring that this old art form shall take on new life."
In April, the Island Institute will travel with four artists through nine communities on the ferry system, exploring the impacts and implications of climate change on culture, lifestyle, heritage, and economies in Southeast Alaska.
As the climate changes rapidly as the result of unsustainable human activity, a re-evaluation of the relationship of people to the broader natural world is necessary.
Many Alaskans depend on their ability to observe and understand changes in natural patterns and their ability to maintain sustainable relationships with natural systems. Because of this knowledge and understanding, Alaskans are in a valuable position to inform the way that people across the country think about the relationship between climate and culture.
Taking a long history of sustainable subsistence practices in Southeast Alaska as a model, this work also recognizes the deep cultural and environmental wisdom of Southeast Alaska's first people.
April 1, KCAW-Sitka, by Robert Woolsey: Tidelines offers artists a ‘nomadic’ climate change residency
April 5th, KRBD-Ketchikan, by Maria Dudzak: Impacts of climate change on culture explored
April 6th, KSTK-Wrangell, by Katarina Sostaric: Traveling artists, Wrangell residents share observations of climate change
April 7th, Alaska Floats My Boat, by Alaska Beachcomber: The Tidelines Ferry Tour
April 7th, KRBD-Ketchikan: Arts Council Report (feat. live performance by Allison Warden)
Follow along on social media at #tidelinesjourney
Sitka, March 30 - Apr 3
April 1 - 5-9pm, Ice Cream Social and artists perform at 304 Baranof St
April 2 - Artist Workshops at 304 Baranof St
Wrangell, April 4-6
April 4th - Community Conversation from 4-6pm at Elks Lodge
April 5th - Artists perform from 6:30-8:30pm at Chief Shakes Tribal House
Ketchikan, April 6-8
April 6th - Artists perform at Saxman Tribal House from 7-9pm
April 7th - Community Conversation at Alaska Fish House Restaurant and Bar from 6:30-8:30pm
Kake, April 9-10
April 10th - Community Conversation (with spaghetti!) at Salvation Army from 2-4pm
Petersburg, April 11-12
April 11 - Artists perform at Holy Cross House from 6:30-8:30pm
April 12 - Community Conversation at Public Library from 6:30pm to 8pm
Juneau, April 14-18
April 14 - Science & Storytelling Long Table Conversation at JAHC from 7-8:30pm
April 17th - Artists perform from 7pm to 9pm at JAHC from 7-9pm
Kodiak, April 21-23
April 22 - Earth Day Artist Presentations and Community Conversation at Kodiak College, room 106, 6:30-9pm. Facebook event here.
Homer, April 24-27
April 25 - Artists perform at Bunnell St Art Center, 7-9pm
April 26 - Community Conversation at Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, 6:30-8pm
Anchorage, April 27-29
This trip was made possible by
- by Rasmuson Foundation through the Harper Arts Touring Fund, administered, under contract, by the Alaska State Council of the Arts.
- by Alaska Conservation Foundation, through their support of the Island Institute through an Organizational Capacity grant in 2015
- by an anonymous individual donor through the Juneau Community Foundation
- by a network of individual donors
- by everybody who is joining us for the events, spreading the word, or following along at home
Four artists will share their climate themed artwork in each community.
Lgeik'i is travelling with the Tidelines tour as a culture bearer and language warrior. She is joined by two young leaders - Mary Jack and Cecilia George - from Hoonah High School and her three amazing children, Shgate (Ava), Wandatan (Sophie), and Deit Xoon (RJ).
Lgeik'i is Chookanshaa from Cedar House, Xaay Hit, Xunaa Kaawu - originally from Glacier Bay. Lgeik'i is daughter of Tammy Young and a Child of Ojibwe, Bad River band from Grand Marais MN, a grandchild of Luknax.adi, and great grand child of T'ukdeintaan and great great grandchild of Teikweidi. After graduating from the Sitka Native Education Program, she worked with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Language and Education Department for twenty years, becoming director of the program. Lgeik'i is now the Director for Hoonah City Schools Haa Kusteeyi Aya, Coummunity Liaison for Sealaska Mentor Apprentice Program, Board member for Alaska Arts Southeast (Sitka Fine Arts), Raven Radio Board, and Vice President ANS Camp #4.
Allison Warden is an Iñupiaq interdisciplinary artist born in Fairbanks, Alaska with close ties to Kaktovik, Alaska. She is also known by her rap persona, AKU-MATU. Her most recent show, “Let Glow” debuted at the Bunnell Street Art Center as part of an artistic residency in March 2014. “Let Glow” is an interactive interdisciplinary piece that explores a man’s process towards love and the push to drill for oil on the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. In 2015, she received a State of Alaska Governor’s Award in the Arts and Humanities. In 2013, she received a Connie Boochever fellowship in performance art from the Alaska State Council of the Arts and a Rasmuson Individual Artist Award for performance art in 2012.
Her one-woman show, “Calling All Polar Bears” debuted at Pangea Theatre with Intermedia Arts in 2011 as part of a National Performance Network (NPN) residency. “Calling All Polar Bears” brings the audience virtually to the village of Kaktovik, where they hear about the impacts of climate change in the Arctic and the push for resource extraction from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It has since toured to Berlin,Germany London, England, and the communities of Anchorage and Homer in Alaska. In 2009, she created an interactive interdisciplinary piece at MTS Gallery in Anchorage, Alaska titled, “virtual subsistence”. It incorporated video projection, the smell of polar bear cooking and a herd of caribou being hunted in the gallery to look at land issues and subsistence rights in Alaska.
Her current project, “Unipkaaġusiksuġuvik (the place of the future/ancient)” will debut as a solo show at the Anchorage Museum in October of 2016. The show is an interdisciplinary installation of an Iñupiaq ceremonial house that exists in the space between the hyper-future and the super-ancient. During the two month run of the exhibit, Warden will be physically in the gallery installation for a total of 390 hours. She is in the process of recreating artifacts from the Museum using futuristic materials, and artifacts from the Museum’s collection will also be incorporated in the space. She currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska.
Nina Elder is an artist, adventurer, and arts administrator. She grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico where she cultivated love for the land and curiosity about its use. After earning an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, Nina returned to northern New Mexico where she co-founded an off-the-grid artist residency program called PLAND: Practice Liberating Art through Necessary Dislocation followed by several years as the Residency Program Director at the Santa Fe Art Institute. Nina’s work is exhibited and collected nationally, and has been included in publications such as Art in America, VICE Magazine, and New American Paintings.Nina examines historic land use and its cycles of production, consumption, and waste. Mines, bombing ranges, and junk heaps are source material for her landscape paintings and representational drawings that explore the line between land and landscape, beauty and banality. She has backpacked into mines, travelled to Arctic Cold War military sites, and obtained government clearance to tour the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. She has drawn with radioactive charcoal, ore from mines, and dam silt. Her personal experience of research is reflected through performative, narrative presentations that are equal parts travel log, artist talk, personal story-sharing, and scientific inquiry, as well as a call for greater curiosity and engagement with the world.
Nina is part of the 2017 Tidelines Journey.
"A component of this exploration will focus on the ethics and morals of our role, as travelers, artists, consumers, and citizens, within the cacophony of climate change. With a search for quietude and pristine nature rendered nearly impossible, even in the far flung wildernesses of Alaska, this exploration of noise in the natural environment has vast potential to amplify participants' understanding of the contemporary state of sound and silence."
As metaphorical expressions inspired by nature, Billy Joe Miller's work elicits possibilities of transformation and discovery. His practice often results in structures, shapes, light and sounds that frame and create contemplative, site-responsive spaces. Operating at an architectural scale, his projects are immersive and multi-sensory. He often situates his mixed-media works in publicly accessible locations not typically used for presenting art. By placing his work in and responding to specific environments, he opens up his audience to a vivid consideration of a particular place. Utilizing a variety of organic, geometric, and architectural forms (e.g. ovals, arches, windows, and doorways) to frame space, Miller’s work transcends and transforms it in order to open up new territories and perspectives.
Throughout his early life Miller was influenced by cultural and religious practices. Later he worked as a nursing assistant for people in hospice. Through these experiences, he developed an interest in storytelling, and similar rituals created around mortality. He began to experiment with collaborative dance, performance, and costuming as ways to creatively re-envision spiritual expression.
Considering the present state of trauma to the natural environment and the global political landscape, I am inspired to collaborate with vulnerable communities to make installations, interventions and inclusive art spaces. My work is a byproduct of the relationships formed, be it to a specific community, to a found material, to a place, or opportunity.
I continued working with the International District community with my piece Writha in the show At Home in the World at 516 Arts (a local non-profit art space/venue in Albuquerque). The project explored belonging and place, examining how we relate to each other, ourselves and our countries as globalization forces us to rethink issues of nationality, citizenship and migration. I sat and ate with 7 different families, couples or individuals from my neighborhood, speaking with them about their experiences of home, including immigration and cultural practices. We then collected locally found materials and made artworks inspired by our experiences of home.
Morning Glory by Billy Joe Miller, Nina Dubois, residents of Albuquerque's International District and Artful Life, 2014.
In 2014 I was chosen along with four other local artists to work on a project titled The Stories of Route 66’s International District. For seven months we met weekly, engaging with International District residents and working with them on collaborative projects, creative place making, community development and the transformation of their neighborhood spaces including an art garden a theatrical performance, and a public sculpture. I was asked to lead the sculpture project, Morning Glory. With a lot of help my friend Nina Dubois and I developed and executed a design based on a long process of collaboration with the ensemble that included the ensemble sharing ideas, drawings and dreams for the neighborhood. I’m still in awe of the piece and how it came to be.
Billy Joe is part of the 2017 Tidelines Journey.