“Illustrations of heartfelt stories about pride, protection, and celebration, newly encoded collective myths.”
Jen Graves,The Stranger
“About understanding people everywhere, and our collective and disparate experience with self-expression and identity.”
Laura Cassidy, Seattle Met
Your Feast Has Ended: Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Nicholas Galanin, and Nep Sidhu
June 14 – September 14, 2014
In this exhibition, artists Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, Nicholas Galanin, and Nep Sidhu offer a visual cogitation exploring continuum, identity, ritual, and adornment, and signal that natural, cultural, and human resources have been appropriated, exploited, suppressed, depleted, or eradicated.
Each artist works with the ancient and sacred in unison with the new and revised, bound by the belief that a people without myth and a society that fails to look upon itself honestly are destined to the same fate. The artists practice these philosophies through cross-disciplinary approaches to storytelling and employ time-honored and new techniques to create work that ranges from fine art, music, and performance, to film, graphic design, jewelry, and apparel. Their work often takes the form of searing social commentary and is impetus for constructive dialogue and deeper understanding.
The title of the exhibition, Your Feast Has Ended, reflects the artists’ search for constructive dialogue and a deeper understanding of these difficult and powerful issues. The Frye Art Museum is proud to be part of this dialogue around issues which are of deep concern to the communities we serve.
Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes (b. 1977, Seattle) is an artist, filmmaker, writer, and designer who explores the resonance of genetic cultural memory through the mystical and the mundane. The child of two prolific creators, he developed his practice under the tutelage of his parents, Curtis R. Barnes and Royal Alley-Barnes. He is part of the Black Constellation, a collective that also includes Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, and Nep Sidhu. Alley-Barnes has exhibited sculpture and films in numerous traditional and new-media-based settings. He has been, and continues to be, instrumental in the creation of seminal cultural spaces in Seattle, including the influential mixed-use space pun(c)tuation, among others. Alley-Barnes lives and works in Seattle.
Alley-Barnes attributes his works from the Pelt series such as Curses, 2013, and Wait! Wait! Don't Shoot (An Incantation for Jazz and Trayvon), 2013–14, to his fascination “with Western society’s vapid and exhaustive penchant for trophy, and the fetish that exists around it”:
The Pelt series is my present take on editorial cartooning. It is deeply tied to the tradition of searching, collecting, and archiving that my mother taught me in the early 1980s. Those traditions have been a part of every phase of my creative practice. It is also deeply tied to my father’s (and my own) history as an editorial cartoonist. These personified animals are caricatures of very specific individuals and situations. Though archetypal in many ways, they are a coded language for those in the know. They are hyper-universal through their specificity.
The vintage garments and textiles that I choose are significant in their provenance, and embedded within are many of the nuances of each piece.
Nicholas Galanin (b. 1979, Sitka, Alaska) is a conceptual artist inspired by, and extending, generations of Tlingit creativity. His work strikes a balance between the traditions of his heritage and an incisive contemporary approach to manifesting ideas visually. Galanin studied at London Guildhall University, where he received a bachelor of fine arts degree with honors in jewelry design and silversmithing. He earned a master’s degree in indigenous visual arts from Massey University in New Zealand. He is also renowned for his musical performances as Indian Nick and with Silver Jackson, and is co-founder of Homeskillet Records and Homeskillet Fest, an annual summer music festival in his hometown, Sitka, Alaska.
Galanin’s Inert, 2009, was originally conceived for a traveling exhibition that dealt with humanity’s impact on the environment. Galanin explains:
The inability to progress or move forward was the basic concept. It was created so that we could focus on those that are affected by societies’ sprawl . . . I [also] look at this piece in cultural terms—mainstream society often looks at Indigenous or Native American art through a romantic lens, not allowing a culture, like my Tlingit community, room for creative sovereign growth. The back half of this piece is contained, a captured trophy or rug to bring into the home, while the front continues to move. It is sad and the struggle is evident.
Galanin legally obtained two taxidermied wolves for this sculpture. The work has been shown in numerous museums across North America and it is now in the permanent collection of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle.
Nep Sidhu (b. 1978, Britain) is an artist in the continuum linking the ancient with the here and now. He is interested in the way that memory, social landscape, and stylistic interpretation can give way to myth, identity, and truth. His primary reference points are sound, language, architecture, and adornment. He is a member of the Black Constellation, and just completed the artwork for the new Shabazz Palaces album, Lese Majesty. He is also the founder of the non-commercial clothing line Paradise Sportif, “a contemporary understanding towards adornment and garments for the protection and enhancement of modern day ceremony.” Sidhu lives and works in Toronto.
Sidhu describes his Confirmation series as being based on the possibility that
a third space/feeling exists between architecture and the written word as a continuation from my other works and beliefs. The connective narrative source of the words themselves has come from three various impactful storytellers of my time. All three storytellers have the duality of observation and physical execution that point towards an infinite woven rhythm.