Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Through the eye of the First Nations

Artist Larry McNeil will discuss his work at The Center

Express Staff Writer

Artist and educator Larry McNeil is a proud member of the First Nations, an alternate name for American Indians. Published extensively, his unique work has been exhibited all around the world. An Associate Professor of Photography at Boise State University, he will discuss his work at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Hailey at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25. His work will remain on display through Friday, Oct. 27.

A member of the Tlingit and Nisga's Nations from both the U.S. and Canada, his perspective is unique, combining a contemporary slant with his people's history.

McNeil said his "Keet H'it, Killerwhale House" series, which will be displayed, is "dedicated to the generations of family members that made us who we are. The work explores the photographic identity of my Tlingit and Nisga'a North American Indian family in both a traditional and contemporary context."

By combining archival photographs with his original artwork and multiple printmaking processes, the series creates a complex dialogue with itself. McNeil's handwritten notes and commentaries, in which humor is an integral part, enhance this notion.

Another work that will be displayed, "Once Upon a Time in America," is about the racism McNeil's mother endured as a young woman growing up in Juneau during World War II. "Dad" pays homage to McNeil's father, a fishing boat captain, and Nisga'a chief, who appears in two photographs. One is in front of his boat, and the other is of him donning his chief's robes. Other works feature McNeil's grandparents and great-grandparents.

McNeil, recently won the National Geographic All Roads Award for Photo Essays of International Distinction for the "Keet H'it, Killerwhale House" series. In 2004, McNeil won the Juror's Choice Award at the 2004 Project Competition, Santa Fe Center for Photography, Santa Fe, N.M.

For more information about McNeil's talk and exhibition call 726-9491 or visit

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