Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 22nd, 2020

Pieces to be cast in bronze, displayed in front of Walter Soboleff Building

February 7, 2017

TJ Young working on a totem pole now installed at Gajaa Hít in JuneauSealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has chosen three emerging, master Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian artists to carve three cedar house posts that will be cast into bronze.

Haida artist TJ Young, Tlingit artist Stephen Jackson and Tsimshian artist Mike Dangeli will create the carvings, which will be prominently and publicly displayed in front of the Walter Soboleff Building on Seward Street in Juneau.

The artists’ pieces will be juxtaposed against the three monumental Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian pieces at the building made by master artists Robert Davidson, Preston Singletary and David A. Boxley.

“We have pieces by the masters at the Walter Soboleff Building, and now we are showing the world that our culture lives on through our younger generation of emerging, master Northwest Coast artists,” said SHI President Rosita Worl. “Our culture and our art are alive, thriving and evolving.”

The pieces are slated for installation in 2018.

Mike Dangeli is of the Nisga’a, Tlingit, Tsetsaut, and Tsimshian nations. He is of the Beaver Clan and carries the names Goothl Ts’imilx  (“Heart of the Beaver House” in Nisga’a) and Teettlien (“Big Wave” in Tlingit). Mike trained under the leaders of his family to be a Sim’oogit (hereditary chief) among the Nisga’a. Mike recently moved from Vancouver, BC, to Juneau and works as a commissioned-based artist. His commissions are primarily by private clients and indigenous people who use his work in ceremony and for their dance groups. Mike co-leads The Git Hayetsk Dancers with his wife, Dr. Mique’l Dangeli.

TJ Young is Haida of the Yaadaas Eagle Clan of the Kaigani Haida in Hydaburg on Prince of Wales Island. His Haida name is Sgwaayaans, which means “Breakwater.” In recent years, TJ—working with his brother, Joe Young—has carved several major projects including a 40-foot totem pole for the Sitka National Historical Park and a 32-foot crest pole for the Hydaburg Totem Park. The duo also carved an Eagle totem at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) in 2009 through a project commissioned by SHI and UAS. In 2013, TJ and his brother won a contract from SHI to carve two totem poles and a screen for the Gajaa Hít building in Juneau’s Indian Village.

Stephen Jackson began carving with his father, the acclaimed Tlingit artist Nathan Jackson, in high school and worked as a visual artist based in Alaska as Stron Softi, with solo exhibitions at the Alaska State Museum and the Anchorage Museum, exhibiting in Zurich and Brussels before pursuing his undergraduate education in New York. He obtained a BA in art history and visual arts from Columbia University in 2013 and subsequently went on to receive an MFA in visual arts from Columbia University in 2015.

The project is a part of SHI’s ongoing effort to make Juneau the Northwest Coast art capital of the world.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research and advocacy that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars and a Native Artists Committee. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

CONTACT: Rosita Worl, SHI President, 463-4844

Caption: TJ Young working on a totem pole now installed at Gajaa Hít in Juneau


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