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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex

Sonya Kelliher-Combs


Painting and sculpture: Sonya Kelliher-Combs


Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 pm


Visual Arts Complex 1B20, CU-Boulder

Through her mixed media painting and sculpture, Kelliher-Combs offers a chronicle of the ongoing struggle for self-definition and identity in the Alaskan context. Her combination of shared iconography with intensely personal imagery demonstrates the generative power that each vocabulary has over the other. Similarly, her use of synthetic, organic, traditional and modern materials moves beyond oppositions between Western/Native culture, self/other and man/nature, to examine their interrelationships and interdependence while also questioning accepted notions of beauty. Kelliher-Combs’ process dialogues the relationship of her work to skin, the surface by which an individual is mediated in culture.

Sonya Kelliher-Combs was raised in the Northwest Alaska community of Nome. Her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Master of Fine Arts is from Arizona State University.

Kelliher-Combs’ work has been shown in numerous individual and group exhibitions in Alaska and the contiguous United States, including the national exhibition Changing Hands 2: Art without Reservationand the international exhibition Arts from the Arctic. In 2007, Kelliher-Combs was awarded the prestigious Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art and is a recipient of the 2005 Anchorage Mayors Arts Award. Her work is included in the collections of the Anchorage Museum, Alaska State Museum, University of Alaska Museum of the North, and the Eiteljorg Museum. Kelliher-Combs currently lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. As an Alaska Native artist and advocate, she serves on the Alaska Native Arts Foundation Exhibitions Committee, Alaska State Council on the Arts Visual Arts Advisory, and Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Arts Board. She volunteers and donates her expertise and art to numerous organizations and individuals. It is her goal and mission to bring awareness, to educate, and to perpetuate the arts and traditions of the many diverse cultures of Alaska. Current exhibitions include Hide at the National Museum of American Indian Art, New York, NY and THIS IS DISPLACEMENT: Native Artists Consider the Relationship Between Land and Identity a traveling exhibition.

This event is part of the Visiting Artist Program

We would like to thank our students for making this program possible with funding from Art and Art History Student Activities Fees.

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