Friday Nov 18, 2022
EP 50 Indigenizing public spaces with Crystal Worl
Crystal Worl is fresh off of two big projects. A mural in downtown Anchorage and a commission for Google. The mural depicts and applies traditional Alaska Native traditions and symbols — the formline art of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian, for example. It’s 120-feet long, the largest thing she’s ever designed. The Google skin, titled “Primary Ravens,” depicts ravens, which represent the Creator and are always playing tricks. What she likes most about these pieces is that they’re public. They don’t belong to just one person, they belong to the communities that they’re made for. So, anyone has access to them. Both designs utilize traditional and modern techniques, something Crystal makes a point of combining in her work, and they’re part of a larger idea to indigenize public spaces.
Crystal says that having her murals displayed downtown is significant because that’s where people come together. It’s where locals hang out, do business, have dinner, and it’s where visitors are often introduced to Alaska. In many ways, art helps us understand a city, the land and the history of both. She says that the art of formline can help us understand the future of Alaska. It can help us visualize and plan for the future of a state that reflects our ideals and our values. Her mentor, Haida artist Robert Davidson, taught her about the power of visualization. He told her to focus on the end goal, not the process because so many things will test your strength along the way, so it’s important to be persistent. To imagine herself standing in front of the finished piece and celebrating it.
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