Alison Bremner (Tlingit), the featured artist for this year’s Seafair Indian Days Powwow (July 15-17), is a trailblazing artist whose work in various mediums works to demonstrate the ways in which culture constantly evolves and grows.
Bremner grew up in Yakutat, Alaska, and studied under David Albert Boxley and David Robert Boxley. While her work spans an impressive range of mediums, from woodcarving to digital collage, Bremner especially enjoys using traditional Tlingit formline design to depict modern or contemporary designs.
The piece featured on this year’s Powwow poster, Bacchus 1, is in many ways emblematic of Bremner’s work. Bremner points out a central aspect of her work and of this piece almost immediately, noting that “humor is a great bridge between cultures.” Indeed, fun, humor, and sense of celebration is central in Bacchus 1, which features Raven indulging in a bowl of grapes.
But Bacchus 1 has a very particular humorous story behind it. Ten years ago, Bremner first encountered Caravaggio’s Bacchus as part of an art history class. Her class was told that the piece was ‘the most fainted-in-front-of piece of all time’. Bremner’s first thought upon hearing this was that that Raven, of Tlingit mythology, would greatly enjoy having such power. The idea stuck with her for a decade, and she has finally had the opportunity to bring this idea to life in Bacchus 1.
While Bacchus 1 was not originally created with this year’s Seafair Indian Days Powwow in mind, Bremner believes it is the perfect fit for this year’s Powwow as we celebrate coming together for the first time in three years (after two consecutive years on hold due to the pandemic). “Bacchus is the god of excess and ecstasy,” she explains. “I hope the Powwow will similarly be filled with the joy of getting together again.” Bacchus 1 plays into our theme of “Remember, Reconnect, Revive” and the celebratory atmosphere of reconnecting with family, friends, and community through culture.
Bremner is excited to attend the Powwow for the first time this year with her family. During the Powwow (and from July 14 – September 25), an exhibition of her work will also be on display at our Sacred Circle Gallery, thanks to a generous grant from the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. Make sure to stop by the Sacred Circle Gallery inside Daybreak Star during the Powwow to see a broader selection of Bremner’s work!