Sealaska Heritage Institute purchased a new Raven hat by master artist Nathan Jackson, and the nonprofit that protects and promotes Alaska Native art and culture will show it off First Friday.
The red-cedar hat, which was carved this year, is traditional in form and similar to clan crest hats used in Alaska Native ceremonies. The hat tells of an event that happened during the migration of the Raven Lukaax.ádi clan, when a segment of the people separated and traveled southward, while the main body of the clan moved north to eventually settle in the Chilkoot area.
“Nathan Jackson is the preeminent, living Tlingit artist working in the traditional Tlingit style, and this piece reflects his mastery,” said SHI President Rosita Worl, in a press release. “We also have to acknowledge that Nathan’s artistic career began with the study of modern art. His work is priceless to us and will benefit future generations of artists, scholars and the viewing public.”
The hat features inlaid abalone eyes, deer hide straps, ermine and four “potlatch rings” on top that were woven by the celebrated late Haida weaver Selina Peratrovich.
Jackson, leader of the Lukaax.ádi clan whose Tlingit name is Yéil Yádi, is esteemed in the Alaska Native community for his mastery of Northwest Coast art and for his willingness to teach the art form to succeeding generations.
He is so highly regarded, SHI named its main exhibit space, the Nathan Jackson Gallery, in his honor in 2015. SHI considers the hat to be a very significant addition to its collection because it is a contemporary piece made by a living master of Tlingit carving in the ancient formline tradition
The hat, which SHI will unveil to the public this week during First Friday, will be on display at Sealaska Heritage along with “Yéil Yádi-Raven Child: A Nathan Jackson Retrospective.”