Recent Acquisitions: Nicholas Galanin, "What Have We Become? Vol. 3 & 5a" (2007)
Nicholas Galanin, an emerging Tlingit artist, constructs enigmatic sculptures of masklike faces from blank sheets and pages from nineteenth-century anthropological books as part of a series of paper sculptures addressing the politics of cultural representation and contemporary indigenous identity. The materiality of the sculptures is significant to him.
Commenting on the outsider's perspective of Tlingit culture, Galanin notes, "I have found myself reading Western literature, often written from a foreign perspective, in which my culture has been digested and recycled back to me." Galanin, who recognizes the importance of literature as documentation, is also overtly conscious of its biases in presenting "a dilemma in which old and new, customary and non-customary, overlap and collide. It is at this point of collision that a new dynamic and tension is being negotiated."