Grantee:  Nicholas Galanin
Native Citizenship:  Tlingit/Unangax̂
Location:  Sitka, Alaska
Award:  2017 NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship
Discipline:  Contemporary Visual Arts, Multi-disciplinary
Web Site:

Galanin is an accomplished artist whose highly conceptual multi-media works combine elements of traditional Northwest-Coast art forms and contemporary artistic practice. Exceedingly creative and exploratory in his artistic practice, he works with a range of artistic media, from sculpture to jewelry to video, and often addresses themes such as memory, dreams, and cultural representation.

Nicholas Galanin will transfer every aspect of Tlingit metalsmithing and the technique of chasing and repoussé to his apprentice, Samuel P. Sheakley, Sr. (Tlingit & Haida Tribal Citizen), from tool making to the technique’s historical significance, which predates European contact. His apprentice will gain the technical skills needed to practice this complicated technique on his own as well as the ability to apply it to other artistic mediums, such as silversmithing and wood. Galanin will also offer professional guidance to his apprentice and help prepare him for exhibiting his artwork in the museum and gallery sectors. From this, his apprentice will not only be able to advance his artistic practice, but will also be able to teach a challenging and culturally important metalworking technique to other apprentices in his own time, and strengthen the Tlingit metalworking community.

Galanin’s distinctive style and extensive knowledge of Northwest-Coast art forms and contemporary artistic practices are the result of many years of study and exploration. Once an apprentice under master carvers such as his father, Dave Galanin, he is now dedicated to teaching and passing on traditional knowledge and methods of making art to a new generation of artists in the Tlingit community.

[…]we will see these students not only go on to create new cultural objects, but to also hopefully contribute to this continuum. The Master/Apprentice model has been used in Tlingit culture for generations.
~ Nicholas Galanin

Mentor and Apprentice Joint Art Project:

A copper mask Samuel P. Sheakley, Sr. created under Nicholas Galanin’s mentorship won The Best of Metal Category in Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Juried Art Show in 2018. Sheakley also assisted Galanin in the carving of a totem pole for Douglas Island commemorating the burning of a Tlingit Village by the U.S. Government in 1962. The pole was raised in a community celebration.

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