On Tuesday, March 21, visiting artist and Alaska native Sonya Kelliher-Combs will give a lecture on her mixed-media paintings and sculptures as part of the Visiting Artist Program.
Kelliher-Combs offers a chronicle of the ongoing struggle for self-definition and identity in the Alaskan context, dialoguing the relationship of her work to skin: the surface by which an individual is mediated in culture.
Her combination of shared iconography with intensely personal imagery demonstrates the generative power that each vocabulary has over the other.
Similarly, her use of synthetic, organic, traditional and modern materials moves beyond oppositions between Western-native culture, self-other and man-nature to examine their interrelationships and interdependence while also questioning accepted notions of beauty.
Kelliher-Combs was raised in the Northwest Alaska community of Nome. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and master of fine arts from Arizona State University.
Her work has been shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions in Alaska and the contiguous United States, including the national exhibition Changing Hands 2: Art without Reservation and the international exhibition Arts from the Arctic.
Kelliher-Combs currently lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. As an Alaska native, artist and advocate, she serves on the Alaska Native Arts Foundation Exhibitions Committee, Alaska State Council on the Arts Visual Arts Advisory, and Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Arts Board.
She volunteers and donates her expertise and art to numerous organizations and individuals. It is her goal and mission to bring awareness, to educate and to perpetuate the arts and traditions of the many diverse cultures of Alaska.
The free Visiting Artist Lecture will be held at the Visual Arts Complex (VAC) at 6:30 p.m.