By combining elements of Christian iconography with Alutiiq tradition, the artist suggests that they are equally important. She is asking us to consider traditional Alutiiq beliefs on the same level as Western beliefs.
– The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository, Kodiak, Alaska
My ancestors from Kodiak Island were both Alutiiq/Sugpiaq and Russian/Estonian. The Russian occupation was swift and devastating for the indigenous people and living creatures of the region. Lost and repressed language, cultural knowledge, and spiritual traditions are slowly being rediscovered and brought to light.
With this series of landscape paintings and icon-inspired portraits, I take a deeper look at the world view of my Alutiiq ancestors, finding affinity in many ways with my own. I have taken inspiration from the vast landscapes of Alaska and my time in Denali National Park as artist-in-residence.
Alutiiq cosmology is built on the belief that all things, living and inanimate, possess a soul. The Alutiiq people considered themselves as integral elements of their environment. In my paintings, both landscape and portrait, it is my hope to reveal this spiritual energy through color and light, representing landscape, plant, animal, and human life as equals.
In the spirit of inclusion and interconnectivity, I acknowledge the duality of my history, past and present, native and non-native. Inspired by traditional Alutiiq culture, I build upon assimilated symbols of Western beliefs to create work that exemplifies a world view I share with my ancestors.
ARTerrain Gallery by Linda Infante Lyons Iconographies | Alutiiq Portraits + Landscapes
Images in this gallery may not be copied or otherwise used without express written consent of the artist. Click image to view in larger size.
About the Artist
Linda Infante Lyons is a visual artist from Anchorage, Alaska. Her family is of Alutiiq Alaska Native heritage from Kodiak Island. She earned a BA at Whitman College, Washington, and studied art at the Viňa del Mar Fine Arts School in Chile, where she lived for 18 years.
Linda’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Anchorage Museum, the Alaska State Museum, the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank, the Alutiiq Museum, the Museum of the North, the Pratt Museum, and the Denali National Park and Preserve.
Linda has received various awards, including a 2020 Rasmuson Foundation Fellowship, and is a recipient of the 2020 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors grant. She was also awarded a fellowship with the Santa Fe Arts Institute and the Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico.
Linda lives with husband and British artist Graham Dane.