Forty Years: New Print by David A. Boxley, Alaskan Tsimshian
Forty Years, 2020
by David Albert Boxley, Alaskan Tsimshian
silkscreen print, limited edition of 99
23" high x 22" wide, paper size
This year marks Alaskan Tsimshian artist David A. Boxley's forty year career as a carver, dancer, singer, language preservationist, and teacher. To commemorate this milestone, David has produced a limited edition silkscreen print that represents his life as a father, grandfather, husband, and artist.
Quintana Galleries has been deeply honored to have worked with David for over 25 years of his remarkable career. In celebration of our long relationship, we are the first gallery to introduce this beautiful print to the world.
About the print:
In the center of the print we see David A. Boxley represented as Eagle. David is a member of the Laxsgiik (Eagle clan), and his four Tsimshian names includes one meaning "He Who Works with the Cedar," as represented by the tradition carving adze that Eagle is holding.
Look closely into the body of Eagle. In the wings of Eagle is the face of a Wolf, which represents his sons David Robert and Zach, both members of the Wolf clan of Metlakatla. In the heart of Eagle are two faces representing his wife Michelle, and his grandson Sage. In the tail of eagle is a human face representing Dylan and Darius Sanidad, David's stepsons. The figure in the eye of the eagle represents David's grandfather. The figure as the tongue of Eagle represents the important work David has done to preserve his traditional dialect Sm'algyax, which means "real or true language."
The four figures encircling Eagle represent the four decades of David's journey becoming a master artist and important keeper of the Alaskan Tsimshian traditions.
Born in 1952 in Metlakatla, Alaska, David Boxley is the first Alaskan Tsimshian to achieve national prominence; he is particularly well respected as a totem pole carver, having carved 80 poles in the last 35 years. He has taught and demonstrated at many prestigious museums and institutes including the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.; Museum of History & Industry; Seattle, WA; Burke Museum, Seattle, WA; and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.
In all of David Boxley's works, from totem poles, masks, bentwood boxes, to prints, he emphasizes Tsimshian style. In the recent resurgence of Native American cultural traditions, artists have become the culture bearers for their tribes. Boxley accepts this responsibility not only in his carving accomplishments, but by bringing the traditions he has learned in his path to being a carver back to his home village.
David has been deeply involved in the rebirth of Tsimshian culture through organizing and hosting Potlatches in Alaska and Washington. He has been responsible for the first Seattle Northwest Coast Potlatch in one hundred years. This historic event was held in 1996. It was such a success that another was held in 1997. David was also responsible for reintroducing the potlatch back to his home village of Metlakatla, Alaska. These Potlatches involved traditional cultural activities such as clan adoption, name giving, gift giving, ceremonial regalia dedication, and memorials as well as song and dance.
David has been directly involved in the formation of four successful dance groups: one in his home village of Metlakatla, Alaska, and others in Seattle, Washington. He led the Tsimshian Haayuuk for 6 years, and now has a new group called the Git-Hoan (people of the Salmon). David has written over 40 songs in his Native language, and carved many masks, rattles, paddles and other performance items.
"Artists from long ago inspire new generations of Indians to carry on the traditions of which they began. I am determined and dedicated to become the finest artist that I can be while at the same time helping to revitalize and carry on the rich culture of my tribe: I want my sons and other young Indian people to be proud of their heritage."