This coming Friday, April 4, the Alaska Humanities Forum will host a First Friday opening reception for Point Hope: 2,000 Years of Whaling Culture, a new exhibition of images by renowned Alaskan photographer Clark James Mishler.
Arguably the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America, Point Hope has lived off the rich bounty of the land and sea for more than 2,000 years. In this remote Iñupiat community in northwest Alaska, the bowhead whale is at the center of the culture. The Qagruq Whaling Festival, featured among the images in this exhibition, celebrates the ancient traditions of the people of Point Hope. This three-day spiritual event of cooking, feasting, drumming, dancing, blanket toss and prayers honors the bounty of the bowhead whale. Captains who land their first whale cut up the skins of their boats and share large sections of the hides with elders who later fashion them into boots and other useful adornments. These traditions are rooted in the desire to stay connected to the Arctic Ocean and to perpetuate its bounty for future generations.
The reception is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Light fare and libations will be served. The Alaska Humanities Forum is located at 161 E. 1st Ave., Door 15, in the historic Alaska Railroad freight building.
**Strategy tip for gallery hoppers: Clark's cousin, Susanna Mishler, has a First Friday opening beginning at 8 p.m. at Anchorage Community Works, located a short walk away from the forum at 349 E. Ship Creek Ave.***
Shauna, Rita, Jaidyn and Shaylin at, Qagruq Whaling Festival, Point Hope