Nicholas Galanin, the artist asking whose land is it anyway?
2 min read · 28 Jun 2023
Nicholas Galanin, In every language there is Land / En cada idioma hay Tierra (2023). Presented by the Public Art Fund. Brooklyn Bridge Park. Copyright the artist. Courtesy of Peter Blum, New York. Photo by Nicholas Knight
Nicholas Galanin is on the HENI News radar as the indigenous Alaskan artist’s monumental sculpture makes a big statement in the Big Apple.
Nicholas Galanin's HENI Score—a unique artist sentiment—rose an impressive 149% after his Public Art Fund commission went on show in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Standing 30-foot-tall and made of weathered-steel, his sculpture spells out the words “LAND”, a riff on the famous “LOVE” works of Robert Indiana. Galanin's work is an eloquent statement about building border walls, the loss of indigenous people’s land rights and the dominant languages imposed by European colonizers on the Americas.
An artist’s HENI score amalgamates data such as auction sales, NFT sales, news and social media mentions, gallery shows and museum exhibitions.
Galanin is a critically acclaimed artist with numerous museums shows on his CV but his works are largely untested at auction, so far. However, his works have been offered from $40,000 to $60,000, unique prints from $14,000 over the past three years. A small-scale piece sold for $9,000 in 2023.
Nicholas Galanin, The American Dream Is Alive and Well (2012). Copyright the artist. Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York. Photo by Jason Wyche
The artist’s Public Art Fund commission for New York, In every language there is Land / En cada idioma hay Tierra (2023) is due to be on display besides the East River until March 2024.
He has an outdoor work on display in the 2023 Liverpool Biennial (until September). Called Threat Return (2023), it features a group of overturned, cast-bronze handwoven baskets modified to resemble burglary masks. The work indirectly refers to the historic busts and monuments in Liverpool, a port city in the North of England that prospered when transatlantic trade boomed.
Another major outdoor work, Never Forget (2021), was a standout piece in Desert X, the Southern Californian biennial in and around Palm Springs. The work’s 45-foot letters spelled out “Indian Land”, a reference to the original Hollywood sign, the desert city’s links to the film industry and the indigenous Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
In the fall of 2023, Galanin’s work is due to be included in “The Land Carries Our Ancestors: Contemporary Art by Native Americans” at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, an exhibition organised by fellow Native American artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith.
Born in Alaska in 1979 and still based there, Galanin is a member of Alaska's Sitka Tribe. He draws upon his Lingít and Unangax̂ heritage in works across a range of media and found objects. These have included a polar bear rug, taxidermied wolf, porcelain hatchets, and baskets as well as video and photography. Galanin told ART News: “I work with concepts, the medium follows.”
The artist’s politically engaged works have been included in several museum group show, including the 2022 Whitney Biennial. Galanin was one of the artists who asked for their works to be removed in protest at a controversial now ex-member of the museum’s board.
To get a deeper understanding of Nicholas Galanin’s career visit his HENI Dashboard; a unique graphical data tool illustrating an artist’s auction sales, shows, profiles, mentions and their HENI Score. You can search for any one of the 100,000 Artist Dashboards to quickly appreciate their trajectory as well as sharing via email, text and WhatsApp.