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Sonya Kelliher-Combs

TSonya Kelliher-Combs (Iñupiaq/Athabascan), b. 1969 in 969 in ­Bethel, Alaska and brought up in Nome, Alaska. Through visual art, community engagement, curation and advocacy Kelliher-Combs works to create opportunity and feature Indigenous voices and the work of contemporary artists who through their work inform and encourage social action. Her personal mixed-media visual art focuses on the changing north and our relationship to nature and each other.

Traditional women’s work has taught her to appreciate the intimacy of intergenerational knowledge and material histories. These experiences and skills have allowed Kelliher-Combs to examine the connections between Western and Indigenous cultures, and to investigate notions of interwoven identity through her work. Personal and cultural symbolism forms the imagery. These symbols speak to history, culture, family and the life of her people. They also speak about abuse, marginalization and the historical and contemporary struggles of Indigenous ­peoples. ­Kelliher-Combs currently lives and works in ­Anchorage, Alaska.

Photo courtesy of the artist

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