Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Nicholas Galanin featured in SEEING INDIGENOUS, Indigenous Art and Media Arts on Film, at the National Museum of the American Indian in NY on 5/7

 Tsu Héidei Shugaxtutaan I and II by Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit)

Tsu Héidei Shugaxtutaan I and II by Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit)

On Saturday, May 7, the National Museum of the American Indian in New York presents SEEING INDIGENOUS, Indigenous Art and Media Arts on Film, and a discussion of contemporary indigenous arts in Australia and North America. The program features the New York premiere of the documentary series Art + Soul by filmmaker Warwick Thornton (Kayteye). Into the mix, curator Mario A. Caro adds selections of indigenous media arts from the U.S. and Canada, including Tsu Héidei Shugaxtutaan I and II by Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit), Smiling Indians by Ryan Red Corn (Osage) and Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek), and Rechargin’ by Shelley Niro (Mohawk). A conversation follows with Caro, Stephen Gilchrist (Inggarda), curator at the National Gallery of Victoria, and Galanin. Program co-hosts are Dr. Fred Myers, NYU Silver Professor and author of Painting Culture: The Making of an Aboriginal High Art, and Elizabeth Weatherford, director of NMAI’s Film and Video Center.

Saturday, May 7, 2011
2-4 p.m
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
One Bowling Green, Diker Pavilion, First Floor
New York, NY

Seeing Indigenous, presented in coordination with the symposium “Essentially Indigenous: Contemporary Native Arts,” at NMAI on May 5-6, has been made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, the NYU Native Peoples Forum, and with assistance from the Australian Consulate General in New York. With great thanks to Dr. Faye Ginsburg of New York University, Kath Shelper of Scarlett Pictures, Art + Soul producer Brigid Ikin, Cultural Relations Manager Fiona Gosschalk of the Australian Consulate, and NMAI curator Kathleen Ash-Milby (Navajo) for their assistance.

Seeing Indigenous Program guide
ESSENTIALLY INDIGENOUS?: Contemporary Native Arts Symposium Program Guide
ESSENTIALLY INDIGENOUS?: Contemporary Native Arts Symposium Participants
Register for the symposium

About Nicholas Galanin
Born in Sitka, Alaska, multi-disciplinary artist Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Aleut) has trained extensively in ‘traditional’ as well as ‘contemporary’ approaches to art, and pursues them both in parallel paths. Galanin, an accomplished visual artist, musician, multi-instrumentalist, and the founder of Homeskillet Records, created the Homeskillet Fest in 2006 to showcase Alaskan musical talent and give Alaskan artists a chance to share the stage with professional musicians.

His stunning bodies of work simultaneously preserve his culture and explore new perceptual territory. Galanin comes from a long line of Northwest Coast artists – starting with his great-grandfather, who sculpted in wood, down through his father, who works in both precious metal and stone. Having always had an interest in creating, Galanin took on apprenticeships at an early age – first with his father and his uncle, then with other local, traditional artists. When he was about 18, he began to feel the strain of being pulled in two directions – working a day-job, with its requisite frustrations and energy drain, while simultaneously apprenticing in the arts. At that point he realized that he needed to commit himself totally to art-making, or it “wasn’t going to happen.” From early craft courses, he went on to study at the London Guildhall University (in London, England from 2000 to 2003), where he received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with honors in Jewelry Design and Silversmithing. Galanin discovered a graduate arts program at Massey University in New Zealand that meshed perfectly with his interests and concerns, and in 2004 he began earning a Master’s degree there in Indigenous Visual Arts.

About the National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is the sixteenth museum of the Smithsonian Institution. It is the first national museum dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans. Established by an act of Congress in 1989 (amendment in 1996), the museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to protect and foster their cultures by reaffirming traditions and beliefs, encouraging contemporary artistic expression, and empowering the Indian voice.

The museum’s extensive collections, assembled largely by George Gustav Heye (1874–1957), encompass a vast range of cultural material—including more that 800,000 works of extraordinary aesthetic, religious, and historical significance, as well as articles produced for everyday, utilitarian use. The collections span all major culture areas of the Americas, representing virtually all tribes of the United States, most of those of Canada, and a significant number of cultures from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Chronologically, the collections include artifacts from Paleo-Indian to contemporary arts and crafts. The museum’s holdings also include film and audiovisual collections, paper archives, and a photography archive of more than 300,000 images depicting both historic and contemporary Native American life.

The National Museum of the American Indian comprises three facilities, each designed following consultations between museum staff and Native peoples. In all of its activities, the National Museum of the American Indian acknowledges the diversity of cultures and the continuity of cultural knowledge among indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere and Hawai’i, incorporating Native methodologies for the handling, documentation, care, and presentation of collections. NMAI actively strives to find new approaches to the study and representation of the history, materials, and cultures of Native peoples.

Other articles by Lia Chang
National Museum of the American Indian in NY, ESSENTIALLY INDIGENOUS?: Contemporary Native Arts Symposium, 5/5-6
Nicholas Galanin is among nine Native Artists featured in “Dry Ice” Exhibit in Princeton
Alaskan and National Acts to Share Stage at Sitka’s Homeskillet Fest, July 15-18
In Conversation with Nicholas Galanin
Nicholas Galanin is featured in Identity Exhibition at Alaska House in New York
Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Lia Chang in Art & Healing Exhibit at Snug Harbor on SI
LUCKYRICE Festival 2011 in New York includes Daniel Boulud, Susur Lee, Anito Lo, Masaharu Morimoto, May 2-8, 2011
Samrat Chakrabarti stars in Soham Mehta’s Fatakra, Shiva Shankar Bajpai’s Raju, and Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti at NYIFF
Vikas Khanna’s Holy Kitchens Karma to Nirvana premieres at New York Indian Film Festival on 5/7 at Tribeca Cinemas
Ruby Dee, Alicia Keys, Sidney Poitier among honorees at Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Gala at Edison Ballroom on May 22
André De Shields stars in Chicago Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Victory Gardens 5/14-6/12
32nd Annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival at Union Square Park in NYC on May 8, 2011
11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), May 4-8, 2011
Video: Aroon Shivdasani interviews Samrat Chakrabarti at Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival
Up Close and Personal with Darren Pettie, Star of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
House of Payne’s Denise Burse on the 2011 NAACP Image Awards & Season 7
Marva Hicks and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra light up the Southern Theatre with a “A Night at the Apollo”
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.
As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.
Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.
Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre,, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle,,,,,, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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