In the exhibition Ladykiller the Maneater, Tlingit artist Alison Bremner brings forward the experiences of an imagined deity who has existed in a dream-state for a very long time—so long that no one is certain even of what she was the deity of anymore. The eel in Tlingit culture was considered too “lowly” a creature to eat and therefore largely ignored. But eventually, Ladykiller could not ignore the world of men, and was awoken from her subterranean slumber and emerged to traverse and experience this new world around her.
For Bremner, culture is not stagnant. Through contact and technological revolution, Tlingit culture is constantly adapting, observing and searching for its place in the world, just as any other. Ladykiller the Maneater is both a manifestation of trauma and a means of processing it; Bremner envisions her as loving and gentle in her most natural state but highly carnivorous when agitated. Bremner’s paintings demonstrate both the love and bite of the artist’s humour and her penchant to draw from all aspects of contemporary Indigenous identity without assigning much attention to the discourse of traditional vs contemporary. Bremner’s work is not exotic but lived in, felt and able to weave through the cacophony of abrupt awakenings and disruption.
This exhibition is curated by Whess Harman.
Alison O. Bremner is a Tlingit artist born and raised in Southeast Alaska. Bremner is believed to be the first Tlingit woman to carve and raise a totem pole. She has studied under master artists David R. Boxley and David A. Boxley in Kingston, Washington. Painting, woodcarving, regalia and digital collage are a few of the mediums the artist employs. In addition to her contemporary art practice, Bremner is committed to the revitalization of the Tlingit language and creating works for traditional and ceremonial use.
Her work is included in the permanent collections of, among others, the Burke Museum, Seattle; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Château Musée Boulogne-sur-Mer, France; Frye Art Museum, Seattle; and the British Museum in London.
Image: Courtesy of the artist.