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"Landfalls: Dedications to Alaskan Women Writers and Storytellers" a traveling exhibit by artist Katie Ione Craney, March 5 - 26th, 2021

"I grieve the flesh-and-blood other. We are dependent. We can't be sufficient only with ourselves, no matter how fully realized all our aspects." 
Becoming Earth, by Eva Saulitis

How do we know, relate to, and narrate the complexities of living in the North? What words resonate with us when we talk, hear, or read about the place we call home? What sparks us to learn more, change our behavior, and show empathy towards a place and its people? These questions are loaded, complicated, and full of an emotional history of being connected - and disconnected - with a landscape. This series began as an immediate response to Becoming Earth by Eva Saulitis. I've never had such a visceral reaction to a book; Eva’s words extracted sentiments I could only express visually. This, in turn, conjured difficult answers for questions I hadn’t realized I was asking. In reading and listening to the words of Alaskan women, I found a nuance of memory and a history of gender roles, obligations, observations, appropriations, and dark shadows carried through generations. Woven into the lines of these selected works are stories of love, loss, grief, remembrance, and survival, as well as kindness, compassion, and a fierce devotion to the communities, we call home.

As a forager of words and materials, I layer encaustic wax over silver leaf, tissue paper, line drawings, photographs, found objects, and blueberry-dyed medical gauze on top of hand-cut scrap metal. These layers symbolize the ephemerality of a rapidly changing Alaskan landscape. Ice is melting under our feet, our rivers have fewer returning salmon, and oceans are becoming so acidic, they dissolve the calcium carbonate shells of plankton—the basis of our entire marine food chain. Yet, Alaskans are rising up, pushing back, and seeking answers and solutions for hard-to-digest truths.

These works are dedications to women who have helped shape my understanding of the physical, mental, and literary landscape that is as broad as Alaska is in size. This series will continue to grow and unfold as I read and listen. I hope this work inspires you to pick up a book, read a poem, and find solace and solidarity within the words.

Katie Ione Craney

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