Mixed media, 14.5 x 28 x 5 inches. Collection of the artist.
The Last Eskimo is a nod to my thirty years in Alaska and touches on acculturation, global warming and industrial tourism. During those 30 years, much has changed. When I began my career in Alaska, first as a graphic designer and later as a museum curator, cut and paste was done with a knife and hot wax; Alaska crossed four time zones, polar bear habitats were in tact, photographs were made from film and communications, at least by today’s standards, were rudimentary.
The composition of the work is based on a 14th century Florentine portable altarpiece. At the center of the piece is a painting on silk made in 1955 by a Japanese artist living on Kyushu Island, Japan. The artist worked from a photograph of me, at four years old, given to him by my aunt who lived in Japan at the time. Below the portrait is a vintage Snow Baby figurine tending to baby polar bear adrift on a rapidly melting iceberg. Flanking, are a pair of totem pole candles that I bought at a souvenir shop in downtown Juneau during my first year in
Alaska, 1977. Protecting all from above are Marx Toys 1950s Eskimo figurines set against a starry sky in Italian-made brass frames.