Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Alaska State Libraries, Archives & Museums
Friday, October 6
First Friday–free admission 4:30-7:00 pm
Co-curators Sonya Kelliher-Combs and Ellen Carrlee in the galleries
Musician Melanie Brown performing in the atrium 5:00 pm
Inuvialuk artist Maureen Gruben lecture 6:30 pm
Saturday, October 7
Youth Activity: Puviaq (bird crop) Ornament Workshop with Maureen Gruben In the classroom noon–2:00 pm
Monday, October 9
Indigenous Peoples’ Day & last day to see Visceral
Free admission 10:00 am–1:00 pm
Juneau – The Alaska State Museum’s summer exhibition, Visceral: Verity, Legacy, Identity – Alaska Native Gut Knowledge and Perseverance, closes with a series of events October 6-9. Visceral explores contemporary and historical Alaska Native issues, spotlighting gut as a conduit for Indigenous voices.
Left: Melanie Brown, center: Maureen Gruben, right: Sonya Kelliher-Combs
Melanie Brown is a community organizer for SalmonState whose work is focused by salmon. She was born on Lingít Aaní, but her heritage is tied to the Yup'ik and Unangan people of Bristol Bay through her mother and Inupiaq people of Norton Sound by her father. Melanie is grateful for opportunities to share energy out to the world through song. She is also part of a music duo called Sunny Porch.
Maureen Gruben is an Inuvialuk artist from the village of Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea in Northwest Territories, Canada. Her practice encompasses varied media, including video, photography, sculpture, textiles, land installations and large-scale public works. She shares an aesthetic affinity and mutual respect with Visceral exhibit co-curator Sonya Kelliher-Combs.
Sonya Kelliher-Combs is an Iñupiaq/Athabascan artist who grew up in Nome. Her mixed-media installations combine natural and synthetic materials and evoke questions of authentic experience, truth, abuse, transparency, and credibility.
The pandemic prevented their in-person reciprocal artist exchange in 2020, but Kelliher-Combs and Gruben will finally connect in Juneau at the Alaska State Museum during the closing weekend of the Visceral exhibit.
Create a bird crop ornament with Inuit contemporary artist Maureen Gruben from Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, Canada. The puviaq is a beautiful gut ornament made in many communities across the circumpolar north from an inflated bird crop. The translucent globe reveals the foods, such as seeds and berries, that birds like grouse and ptarmigan hold for later use. This hands-on youth workshop will explore this special anatomy, why gut is a special material, and how to inflate a bird crop.
This program is partially funded by the citizens of the City and Borough of Juneau through sales tax revenues and is sponsored by the Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum.
The exhibit trilogy
Visceral: Verity, an exhibition of work by contemporary artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs, includes mixed-media installations that combine natural and synthetic materials and evoke questions of authentic experience, truth, abuse, transparency, and credibility. Kelliher-Combs is one of only a few artists working with marine mammal gut.
Visceral: Legacy expands Kelliher-Combs’s solo exhibition themes through a selection of objects from the museum’s permanent collection.
Visceral: Identity features gut parkas from across Alaska to highlight technical and historical aspects of this remarkable material in cross-cultural perspective.
The Visceral exhibit is made possible by the support of The Ciri Foundation, Museums Alaska, Rasmuson Foundation, City and Borough of Juneau Youth Activities Grant, and the Friends of the State Library, Archives and Museum.
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