As the Art Comes Alive

Artist Blake Lepine


Acrylic on Canvas, Wood, Abalone
28" x 9" x 9"

There was a time, not to long ago, where our people were displaced from their culture. They were forced to live in a world that they knew nothing about. The world they knew was forgotten, for a time, and they moved into the new one we know today. When our artists started making art again, it changed its purpose, and was solely for the commercial market. Our wealth was never a form of currency. Our wealth was our ceremonial items and were seen more as beings/spirits. Today, our art is moving in a new direction yet again. As first nations people move forward into this new world, we are learning to evolve and integrate ourselves more carefully and with a new form of grace.

Our art is no longer for the sale of the commercial world, and is now coming off the gallery walls to become beings/spirits once more. As we gain strength and learn our true powers once again, our art is coming alive.

This piece is to represent a bentwood box, which were used for almost everything, from storing food to holding our most sacred items. They were a prized possession amongst the Tlingit people and we had a plethora of uses.

That portion of the box that is painted is actually a stretched canvas over a frame, and it's this that I wanted to strongly be a representation of the art as a commercial use. The lid and base are made of red cedar, to symbolize that our art is coming off of the walls and moving back into the hands of our people.

I created this piece to look like the box is emerging from the wall, and back into the spiritual place it once lived. It is in this way that we see the art coming back, and as the art comes alive, we can all live, and exist as one.

 - Blake Lepine