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Sonya Kelliher-Combs solo exhibit opens March 3 at the Alaska State Museum

by LAM Webmaster on 2023-02-23T08:41:00-09:00 in Alaska State Museum, Events | 0 Comments

Visceral: Verity
March 3 – October 9, 2023
Exhibit opening March 3, 4:30 – 7:00 pm
Lecture with the artist at 6:30 pm

close up of installation of objects on strings casting shadowsIdiot Strings, Credible (detail), 2022Juneau – Visceral: Verity, a new exhibition of work by contemporary artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs, opens Friday, March 3. Her mixed-media installations combine natural and synthetic materials and evoke questions of authentic experience, truth, abuse, transparency, and credibility. She is one of only a few artists working with marine mammal gut.

Kelliher-Combs returns to the museum for the first time since her powerful 2001 solo exhibition, bringing to her art the richness of her experience growing up in Nome, her career as an internationally recognized artist, her life in Anchorage, and her insights as a person of Inupiaq, Athabascan, and European heritage.

Kelliher-Combs will give a lecture about her work on March 3 at 6:30 pm.

Visceral: Verity is the first in a series of three interrelated exhibitions opening at the State Museum. The Visceral trilogy is co-curated by Kelliher-Combs and explores contemporary and historical Alaska Native issues, spotlighting gut as a material used to express Indigenous voices.

The second exhibit of the trilogy, Visceral: Legacy opens the First Friday in May and expands Kelliher-Combs’s solo exhibition themes through a selection of objects from the museum’s permanent collection.  

The third exhibit of the trilogy, Visceral: Identity also open the First Friday in May and features gut parkas from across Alaska to highlight technical and historical aspects of this remarkable material in cross-cultural perspective. Kelliher-Combs and co-curator Ellen Carrlee, Conservator of the Alaska State Museum, will explore the latest research examining this medium and why gut remains a significant material for key relationships in Alaska.

The Visceral trilogy of exhibitions will be on display through the summer 2023 season and will include special workshops and lectures.

Visceral: Verity, Legacy, Identity
Alaska Native Gut Knowledge and Perseverance


  1. felt in or as if in the internal organs of the body
  2. characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect
  3. characterized by or dealing with coarse or base emotions


  1. the quality or state of being true or real
  2. something (such as a statement) that is true
  3. the quality or state of being truthful or honest


  1. a gift by will especially of money or personal property
  2. something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past


  1. the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another
  2. condition or character as to whom a person or what a thing is: the qualities, beliefs, etc.
  3. the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions

The Alaska State Museum hosts a spectacular permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions. For museum hours, rates, and more information, visit The museum phone number is (907) 465-2901.

A person experiencing a disability who needs accommodation for events hosted by the Alaska State Library, Archives, and Museum can contact the division’s ADA coordinator at (907) 465-2912. Please contact us a week in advance so we can make any necessary arrangements.

For more information:

Amy Phillips-Chan, PhD
Director, Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums

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