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Alaska Native artist explores contemporary connections through photography

Trina Landlord
A photograph by artist Anna Hoover that will appear in her First Friday show "Infinite Horizons." Courtesy ANAF

The artwork of Unangan and Norwegian artist Anna Hoover will be featured at First Friday and daily during the month of October at the Alaska Native Arts Foundation in downtown Anchorage. Her exhibit “Infinite Horizons” illustrates her relationship with international peoples and places.

Hoover says she is enthused to share her artwork with the Anchorage arts community. One of her favorite things to do is travel, making connections in the realm of indigenous arts, where she captures images and interactions through photography, likening them to artifacts of her own modern experience.

“I find great pleasure in experiencing new things, cultures and friendships,” Hoover said. “I often find myself feeling at ease and familiar with my surroundings when I am thousands of miles away from home.”

Her father, John Hoover, exposed her to international art galleries and museums at an early age, including American, Canadian, Siberian, Maori, and Ainu. In 2007, Anna traveled to Hawaii to take part in an international indigenous artist gathering called Piko. It was there that she gelled many friendships with pan-Pacific artists.

In 2008, at the age of 23, Anna traveled to Khabarovsk in the far-eastern region of Russia and Siberia to attend an International Indigenous Artist Gathering dubbed “Connecting the Past and Present.” There, she was awarded first place in graphic arts for her photography installation. In 2010, she was awarded a Cultural Arts Project Support Grant from the Alaska Native Arts Foundation to travel back to Russia, where she placed third for her wood carving display.

At her opening exhibit, viewers can expect to see woodcarvings, photographs of her travels, and a video art installation. In describing her work, Hoover said that “By documenting image and moving image, I am able to carry with me the exact way in which light drapes and defines experience through our most relied upon sense of vision.”

“Much like my ancestors, I prioritize relating to my natural environment, a relationship that informs everything I do,” she said. “I hope to communicate some of my most profound experiences with viewers; a quiet hour on the water in the fog, eyes holding wisdom of decades lived to the fullest, and majestic natural landscape.”

Anna earned her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts in Native American Art History and Master of Communication in Native Voices Indigenous Documentary Filmmaking at the University of Washington.

Her work has been shown internationally at the Art Museum of Komsomolsk-on-the-Amur in Russia, Proyecto ACE in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and at Waiariki Institute in Rotorua, New Zealand.

She has been part of group exhibitions at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, the Burke Museum in Seattle, the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts at Princeton University, the Museum of Contemporary Native Art in Santa Fe, N.M., and Alaska House in New York City.

Visit the Alaska Native Arts Foundation in October to view the “Infinite Horizons” exhibit.

Trina Landlord is the executive director of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation. She can be reached at trina(at)alaskanativearts.org.