Alaska Native dancers perform at Exhibit at Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.
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Kathleen Carlo Kendall & Chris Ehlers

October 16, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

colorful mask closeup


with Premiere Film Screening “To Continue or Be Remembered” by Maya Salganek

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM – Reception

6:00 PM – Premiere Film Screening: “To Continue or Be Remembered: Preserving and Sharing Alaska Native Arts”

6:30 PM – Artists’ Talk

This exhibition celebrates the tradition of Passing Forward knowledge, skills, and traditions, while developing the future of Native Arts in Alaska. Renowned Dene artist, Kathleen Carlo Kendall, and her mentee, Chris Ehler (Diné) will present an exhibition of carvings which celebrates this sharing of knowledge.

In conjunction, please join us for a premiere screening of “To Continue or Be Remembered” a film showcasing the work of perpetuating Alaska Native Arts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Proudly presented by the University of Alaska Fairbanks FRAME Film Production Services in collaboration with KUAC-TV and the UAF Native Arts Center. Guided by Alaskan Native Artists Kathleen Carlo Kendall, Peter Williams, Joel Isaak, Marjorie Tahbone, and Da-ka-xeen Mehner, we discover the ongoing efforts underway to continue and expand Alaskan Native Arts such as fish skin and fur sewing, qupak design, and carving. Produced through the support of the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. Directed by Maya Salganek. Edited by Keara Anderson and Keziah Anderson.

(26 min)

This film will air on KUAC-TV in November.

Kathleen Carlo Kendall

Through all her years of creating art, one of Kathleen Carlo Kendall’s greatest satisfactions is having taught in the artist-in-schools programs. This provided her an opportunity to visit remote villages across the state of Alaska, teach her art, and inspire rural residents to produce and express themselves through wood carving and sculpture. In the end, many of these Alaska Native villages have independently launched art programs and have proudly shown their work through first-time village exhibits.

In the late 1970s, Carlo Kendall emerged as one of the first Alaska Native women to carve wood, traditionally considered a men’s practice. As masks were not used extensively within her own culture, she reflected upon the masks of the Yup’ik and other cultures for inspiration. The inspirations influenced her departure from traditional sculptural concepts, which inspires her students today and has helped develop new prospects for future artists by manifesting traditional cultural art forms into expanded contemporary visualizations. Her work is deeply rooted with vast cultural knowledge and wisdom, and Carlo Kendall re-imagines this into beautiful and mesmerizing artwork that exquisitely exemplifies her talent.

In 2018 she was awarded a Mentor Artist Fellowship, by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation through which Carlo Kendall mentored Chris Ehler (Diné) in carving methods to help him develop his own wood sculptures. Ehler was involved in all aspects of exhibition preparation, curation, and documentation, and throughout the process, cultural traditions and heritage were emphasized as the foundation of the art-making philosophies.

Chris Ehlers

Chris Ehlers is originally from Tucson, Arizona. He has lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for eleven years. He has been wood carving for the past four years at the University of Fairbanks in the Native Arts Center, where he is a student. He met Kathleen Carlo Kendall at the UAF Native Arts Center there she teaches workshops on mask carving. In 2018 she became his mentor through a fellowship with the Native Arts and Culture Foundation. He began to explore his own culture as a Diné (Navajo) artist, as a result. he wanted to understand Kathleen’s influences for making such beautiful and imaginative work. She has cultural, personal, and stories in her work. So Ehlers explores those areas in his work as well.

The exhibition of “Passing Forward” will be on display in the Elder’s Hall at Morris Thompson through the end January 2020. Sponsored by Denakkanaaga, UAF Native Arts Center, UAF Department of Theatre and Film, KUAC-TV, The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.

Mentoring has always been a priority because of the satisfaction I gain by watching student growth and creative development. It is a pure pleasure to see how proud students are of their finished pieces.

~ Kathleen Carlo Kendall



October 16, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center
101 Dunkel St
Fairbanks, AK United States
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( 907) 459-3700
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