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Visceral: Verity Legacy Identity

Alaska Native Gut Knowledge and Perseverance

Three Interrelated Exhibitions

The three interrelated exhibitions of Visceral explore contemporary and historical Alaska Native issues, spotlighting gut as a material used to express Indigenous voices.

Visceral: Verity opens Friday, March 3, 2023 as the solo exhibition of contemporary artist Sonya Kelliher-Combs. Her mixed-media work employs both natural and synthetic materials and draws attention to questions of authentic experience, truth, abuse, transparency, and credibility. Sonya is one of the few artists who work in the endangered art of marine mammal gut.

Visceral: Legacy opens Friday, May 5 as a further interpretation of Sonya’s solo exhibition themes through objects that she and fellow gut enthusiast and Alaska State Museum conservator Ellen Carrlee chose from the museum’s permanent collection. As a guest curator, Sonya brings the richness of her childhood in Nome, her international career as an artist, her life in Anchorage, and her insights as a person of Iñupiaq, Athabascan, and European heritage.

Visceral: Identity, which also opens Friday May 5, features a selection of gut parkas from across Alaska to highlight the technical and historical aspects of this remarkable material in cross-cultural perspective. Ellen and Sonya explore the latest (analytical and social science) research examining this medium and why gut remains a significant material for key relationships in Alaska.

These three galleries will be open through the summer 2023 season, augmented by special workshops and lectures, and closing in mid-October 2023.

Visceral

  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

Verity

  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

Legacy

  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

Identity

  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
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