April 7 – May 29, 2017
The Kachemak dialect of the Dena’ina language now only exists in fragments of historical records. Contemporary descendants, many of whom are lineally affiliated to the Ninilchik and Seldovia tribes, reflect the rapid cultural diffusion as diverse Native and non-Native cultures have contributed elements into local family traditions. This lack of cultural continuity, compounded by a lack of academic attention and public discourse, have left a significant gap in public understanding of the Dena’ina language and related issues particular to the Southern Kenai region.
Qena Sint’isis presents a unique form of cultural expression that describes a new take on the indigenous culture of the southern Kenai Peninsula using the universal experience of language. This visual representation of the Dena’ina language will convey the importance of people’s relationships with all language, and how cultural information can be found within visual language. The goals of this program series and its future applications are to both share information about the Dena’ina language using visual elements, to share information about traditional Dena’ina culture, and to encourage people to explore language through the lens of a different writing system in order to experience how cultural information can be transformed in front of their eyes.
Special Presentation: Seeing Language: Writing in Art & Design with graphic designer Erico Nascimento. Friday, May 5, 2pm.
Funded in part by The CIRI Foundation, Ninilchik Traditional Council, Ninilchik Natives Association Inc., Alaska State Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and City of Homer.