The print Operation Geronimo engages the American government’s use of force in violent conflicts since its infancy to subjugate the rights of Indigenous, Black and Brown bodies and communities in the Americas and around the world; simultaneously calling out the American public’s eagerness to claim and inhabit Indigenous spaces.
The title references the United States continued practice of naming military equipment after Indigenous nations and using Geronimo as the name for Osama bin Laden in the military action resulting in his death.
Here, Operation Geronimo superimposes an American family taken from a real estate advertisement in the space of Geronimo’s face. The last Indigenous leader to fight the US invasion of North America is positioned as an amusement park cut out for American families shopping for homes to peer through.
A reminder to the viewer that the contemporary real estate market is a continuation of land theft, the longest running military operation in US history; transferred from the military to the civilian population to continue.
(b. 1979) Tlingit/Unangax / Multi-Disciplinary Artist
Nicholas Galanin’s work engages contemporary culture from his perspective rooted in connection to land. He embeds incisive observation into his work, investigating intersections of culture and concept in form, image and sound. Galanin’s works embody critical thought as vessels of knowledge, culture and technology – inherently political, generous, unflinching, and poetic.
Galanin engages past, present and future to expose intentionally obscured collective memory and barriers to the acquisition of knowledge. His works critique commodification of culture, while contributing to the continuum of Tlingit art.
Galanin employs materials and processes that expand dialogue on Indigenous artistic production, and how culture can be carried. His work is in numerous public and private collections and exhibited worldwide.
Galanin apprenticed with master carvers, earned his BFA at London Guildhall University, and his MFA at Massey University. He lives and works with his family in Sitka, Alaska.