Part 1: “We Were Not Discovered. How Should Captain Cook Be Remembered?” July 10, 2020
Born in Fairbanks, Alaska to a Tlingit/N’ishga Mother and Hippy/American father, Da-ka-xeen Mehner uses the tools of family ancestry and personal history to build his art. his work stems from an examination of a multicultural heritage and social expectations and definitions. In particular his work has focused on the constructs of Native American identity, and an attempt to define the Self outside of these constructs. Mehner has received a number of awards for his work including a 2015 USA Rasmuson fellowship, a 2015 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, and a 2014 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Artist Fellowship.
Melissa Shaginoff is part of the Udzisyu (caribou) and Cui Ui Ticutta (fish-eater) clans from Nay’dini’aa Na Kayax (Chickaloon Village). Melissa is an Ahtna and Paiute person, an artist, a social activist and currently the curator of Alaska Pacific University’s Art Galleries. Within her current curatorial work, Melissa has focused intently on potlatching. She believes that the only future in which institutions embody Indigenous ideologies is one that publicly recognizes its power, and autonomously gives it away. Melissa has participated the Island Mountain Arts Toni Onley Artist Project in Wells, British Columbia as well as the Sheldon Jackson Museum Artist Residency in Sitka, Alaska. She has been published in First American Art Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly, and the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Learning Lab page. She is currently working on a year long project revolved around social engagement and conversation as art practice.