A look at the indigenous art in Alaska


Hello and welcome to the public site of Native Art of Alaska ART/ANS/ANTH 365.

A little about me

Welcome to Native Art of Alaska ART/ANS 365. My Name is Da-ka-xeen Mehner and I am Director of the Native Art Center and Chair of the UAF Art Department. I am an artist, educator, father, and husband.

A little bit about me and my creative practice…

I use the tools of family ancestry and personal history to build my art. Born in Fairbanks, Alaska to a Tlingit/N’ishga Mother and Hippy/American father my work stems from an examination of a multicultural heritage and social expectations and definitions. I was raised in two environments, one as an urban Native in Anchorage and the other as a rural Hippy in Fairbanks living without electricity, running water or phones, and heating the house with a wood stove. My work has focused on the constructs of Native American identity, and an attempt to define the Self outside of these constructs. I use the materials and tools of my family to express myself. From the steel and concrete of my Labor Union father to the crook knife and cedar of my Alaska Native ancestors, my artwork reflects my heritage. In an expanded view of “tradition,” I also include the inherited tools and skills of photography that were passed down to me from his maternal Uncles.

I received his A.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and his B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico. From 1994-2000 I served as the founder and director of Site 21/21, a contemporary art gallery in Albuquerque, NM, and was a founding member/owner of the (Fort) 105 Art Studios in downtown Albuquerque in 1998. I returned to Alaska in 2000 and earned my M.F.A in Native Arts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2007.

My work in photography and sculpture has been exhibited from New York to California; Alaska to New Mexico. Collections include the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the University of Alaska Museum of the North (Fairbanks, AK), and the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (Santa Fe, NM), C.N. Gorman Museum (Davis CA), the Nevada Art Museum and the Alaska State Museum (Juneau, AK). My work has been featured in the art magazines Sculpture and American Indian Art, and in numerous newspapers, art catalogs, and blogs. I have received numerous awards including a 2015 USA Rasmuson Fellow, a 2015 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow, a 2014 Native Arts & Culture Foundation Artist Fellow, and a 2011 Rasmuson Fellow.

I am currently Associate Professor of Native Arts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the director of the UAF Native Arts Center and Chair of the Art Department.

Welcome, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Here is a link to my personal site but it is a little dated and could use an update http://da-ka-xeen.com/