Statewide museum association Museums Alaska awarded the Alutiiq Museum a $12,925 grant to buy five works of art for its permanent collection, according to the museum.
These purchases are possible with support from the Art Acquisition Fund, established by the Rasmuson Foundation in 2003. Each item will have links to Alutiiq culture or to Kodiak, according to a museum press release
One of the purchases is Nootka Rose, a doll dressed in a kuspuk, which is a Native Alaskan garment of a hooded overshirt or tunic with a large pocket on the front. The doll’s kuspuk is made of fabric scraps from a dress that artist Mary Longrich made for herself as a child. The also doll also has beaded earrings and hair made out of wool.
The museum also will buy two Alutiiq beaded headdresses. One is Emerald Isle, a 24-inch headdress made by Kodiak resident Patricia Abston-Cox. The other is Woman’s Headdress, a 36-inch headdress made by Anchorage-based artist Melinda Abyo.
Anchorage artist Andrew Abyo will sell the museum a model anqyaq, a traditional boat made of basswood and covered with suede, tied with sinew.The 41-inch boat is a replica modeled after a traditional Alutiiq open animal skin-covered boat.
According to the release, these boats were used in Alutiiq communities before the Russian conquest. They were owned by wealthy families and used for trading, raiding and long-distance traveling, and were a symbol of wealth and accomplishment.
The final artwork that the museum will purchase is Sound of Fog, a multimedia work by Kodiak artist Woody Koning. The work depicts the foggy coastline of Kalsin Bay and is centered around a rock formation made of cast plaster that extends off the canvas.
“The stories we can tell with these objects are rich and important,” said April Counceller, Alutiiq Museum executive director. “For example, the use of old fabric in Mary Jane’s doll speaks to the value of recycling in our culture, of never wasting resources. Andrew’s boat model will help us talk about the Russian conquest of Kodiak and how large boats that were once forbidden are now returning to community awareness. And Woody’s homage to Helena Schweite reminds us of the many indigenous people from beyond Kodiak that have added to our community.”
Since the fund’s inception in 2003, the Alutiiq Museum has received $230,078.50 in grants to purchase 144 works by 45 artists.