Nicholas Galanin

Still from 'Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan part 1' Still from 'Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan part 1' Still from 'Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan part 2' Still from 'Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan part 2'


Nicholas Galanin was born in Sitka, Alaska, Nicholas Galanin has struck an intriguing balance between his origins and the course of his practice. Having trained extensively in 'traditional' as well as 'contemporary' approaches to art, he pursues them both in parallel paths. His stunning bodies of work simultaneously preserve his culture and explore new perceptual territory. Galanin comes from a long line of Northwest Coast artists, starting with his great-grandfather, who sculpted in wood, down through his father, who works in both precious metal and stone. Galanin studied at the London Guildhall University, where he received a Bachelor's of Fine Arts with honors in Jewelry Design and Silversmithing. Soon after, Galanin discovered a graduate arts program at Massey University in New Zealand that meshed perfectly with his interests and concerns, and in 2004 he began earning a Master's degree there in Indigenous Visual Arts. Valuing his culture as highly as his individuality, Galanin has created an unusual path for himself. He deftly navigates "the politics of cultural representation," as he balances both ends of the aesthetic spectrum. With a fiercely independent spirit, Galanin has found the best of both worlds and has given them back to his audience in stunning form.

Artist Statement

I work with concepts; the medium follows. In the business of this "Indian Art World," I have become impatient with the institutional prescription and its monolithic attempt to define culture as it unfolds. Native American Art cannot be commonly defined as our work moves freely through time. The viewer, collector, or curators’ definition will often convey more about themselves than that of the "Native Artist." In the past I have struggled with this title, though I now embrace my position as a contemporary indigenous artist with belief that some forms of resistance often carry equal amounts of persistence. My current collection of work presents visual experiences in hope of inspiring creative dialogue with the viewer. I often work with an intention to contribute towards contemporary cultural development. Through education and creative risk-taking, I hope to progress cultural awareness both in and out of this Indigenous world. Let us leave fucked up stereotypes. While moving forward, we liberate the Indian artist.


"Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan part 1"
A dance contemporary break dance inspired piece, danced to a traditional First Nation soundtrack. Performance by David Elsewhere.

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"Tsu Heidei Shugaxtutaan part 2"
A convergence of two dynamic forces meet as electro-beats pound to the steps of a traditional dance, performance by Dan Littlefield.

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