Entertainment

Bringing Alaska Native People Together Through Art

Community Mural Project at the First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference. Phillip John Aarnaquq Charette is pictured. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Community Mural Project at the First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference. Phillip John Aarnaquq Charette is pictured. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

Artist Phillip John Aarnaquq Charette lead a community mural project at the First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. People were welcomed to help paint the mural with Phillip. People painted for as little or long as they wanted to.

Phillip said it is about 300 feet of canvas and the biggest painting project he has ever worked on. Putting the canvases together was a challenge because of bent wood and the immense size. It is a project of the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The murals are now on display at the Ted Stevens International Airport.

The images are from pictures from Alaska Native people from different regions or tribes across Alaska. View the Alaska Native Heritage website at http://www.alaskanative.net/ to see the photos on the top portion of their website. The images tie in with each of exhibits representing Athabascan, Yup’ik & Cup’ik, Inupiaq/St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Unangax & Alutiiq/Supiaq, and Haida/Tsimshian/Eyak/Tlingit.

Sarah Obed and Dewey Kkotheyo Hoffman paint the Athabascan display. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Sarah Obed and Dewey Kkotheyo Hoffman paint the Athabascan display. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

Alaska Native values will also be listed on each piece to tie them together. The Alaska Native Heritage Center logo in the center also will help tie them together.

“I’m proud of the work that everyone did on these paintings. There’s plenty of work still to be done, so please come down to Elders & Youth and help me finish your region’s painting!”
-Phillip John Aarnaquq Charette

It was great to see people painting. You don’t have to be a painter to participate. Phillip is there to give instructions. The public is welcome to come and check it out too! There is a positive vibe to it all.

Entertainment

Sailor Boy Pilot Bread as Pop Art?

There is a Sailor Boy Pilot Bread Cracker box being displayed at the Nat’uh Non-Profit Service Center in Anchorage, Alaska. You might be wondering what it is and what the significance of it for Alaska Natives. It is a large cracker that can be eaten with just about anything and is a staple food in Alaska. I heard that Alaska is the largest consumer of the Pilot Bread crackers. I love eating Pilot Bread crackers topped with butter, cheese or peanut butter and with a cup of tea.

Sailor Boy Cracker Box
Pilot Bread Cracker Box in Anchorage

Karen Larson created the Sailor Boy Pilot Bread project in conjunction with the Warhol Exhibit by the Anchorage Museum and a subsidiary local art project called Pop 11. The Box was originally displayed at Westchester Lagoon, and is currently on loan to the Nat’uh Non-Profit Service Center for a couple more weeks.

Pilot Bread Grown
Roxanne Peter displays a ‘Pilot Bread Grown’ t-shirt during AFN

That was in the early 1900’s. Here we are in the 2000’s and still enjoying Pilot Bread crackers! There is an Alaska Native band called, Pilot Bread Band. There is a Facebook group page called, Pilot Bread: Sailor Boy Fans Unite! Nomadic Stars sells “Pilot Bread Grown” t-shirts and hoodies. In 2010, Cathy Jones wrote about 13 Ways to Eat Sailor Boy Pilot Bread.  It truly is pop art in Alaska!