Image: Belt - Five Arctic Shamans with Spirit Helpers in The Act of Transformation (detail), Denise Wallace, Chugach Eskimo-Aleut 1988, Alaska, U.S.A. Sterling silver, 14-karat gold, ivory (fossil and walrus), lapis lazuli. Collection Mingei International Museum. Gift of The Theodore Dubin Foundation, Connie Golden, Jean Hahn Hardy and Frances Hamilton White. Photo by Lynton Gardiner. 2000-65-001.

On View

Jul 31 - Oct 16, 2005

Curated By

Roslyn Tunis

Curated by Roslyn Tunis and organized by the Anchorage Museum of History and Art where it was first installed, the exhibition traveled after its presentation in San Diego to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City and the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe. The exhibition was funded in part by The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and The County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.

Inspired by the stories, myths and traditions of her Alaskan Native heritage, Denise (Chugach-Aleut) and Samuel Wallace create belts, rings, brooches, pins, necklaces and other objects of adornment from silver, gold, carved and scrimshawed fossil ivory and semi-precious stones. The exhibition contained 150 pieces of individual jewelry and 16 elaborate and intricate belts. The belts often had components that detached to become brooches, pendants or earrings. Others had dancers, drummers or other figures with movable arms. Some had movable parts that opened to reveal a new being as in the Transformation / Shaman Belt from the Collection of Mingei International. In it shamanic figures are transformed into animal spirit helpers and back again.

Playing in the gallery throughout the run of the exhibition was the film ALASKA – The Last Frontier.

During the July 30th Members’ Reception, Denise and Samuel Wallace signed copies of Lois Dubin’s book of the same title that accompanies the exhibition. Following the reception the Wallaces and the evening’s other Honored Guest, Richard West, Founding Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, spoke to a group of more than 100 persons in the Warren Theater Gallery