FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 3, 2008
Media Contact: Janet Asaro, (907) 343-6151
Exhibition explores the relationship between art, science
and ethnography within the Yup’ik way of life
“Yuungnaqpiallerput (The Way We Genuinely Live):
Masterworks of Yup’ik Science and Survival”
On view at the Anchorage Museum Feb. 3 through Oct. 26
Opening reception 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3,
with a performance by the Kicaput Dancers
The Yup’ik people have no word for science yet their tools were so well designed that they allowed the Yupiit to live in a land no one else would inhabit. The exhibition “Yuungnaqpiallerput (The Way We Genuinely Live): Masterworks of Yup’ik Science and Survival” presents remarkable 19th and early 20th century tools, containers, weapons, watercraft and clothing in an exploration of the scientific principles and processes that have allowed the Yup’ik people to survive in the sub-arctic tundra of the Bering Sea coast. The exhibition is on view Feb. 3 through Oct. 26.
Featuring "masterworks" ranging from a needle made from a crane wing bone to elegant bentwood hunting hats, The Way We Genuinely Live elucidates the science behind the design and technology of these objects. Coming from the collections of 13 museums in the U.S. and Germany, more than 200 exhibition objects are the legacy of the intelligence and ingenuity of this ancient culture and illustrate the intimate relationship between humans and their environment.
The exhibition is based on knowledge shared by Yup’ik elders and takes visitors through the seasonal cycle of activities, showcasing tools and materials. At interactive science stations, visitors can engage in hands-on activities that show how and why things work. Video and audio programs document traditional activities as well as the construction of traditional Yup'ik tools. Not just a science exhibit, The Way We Genuinely Live is compelling in its presentation of the unique marriage between art, science and ethnography. At the exhibition’s core is the recognition that the Yup’ik way of life – both past and present – is grounded in deep spiritual values and scientific principles.
Curated by cultural anthropologist Ann Fienup-Riordan, The Way We Genuinely Live is a joint project of the Anchorage Museum and the Calista Elders Council, developed with the guidance of Yup'ik elders, scientists, and educators and with major support from the National Science Foundation. In 2009-2010, the exhibition will travel to museums in Fairbanks, Juneau, and Washington, DC. It premiered in September 2007 at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center and Museum in Bethel, Alaska.
The exhibition was designed by Presentation Design Group of Eugene, Oregon. Video and audio programs were produced by KYUK of Bethel, and the interactive science stations were developed by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry with advice from Yup’ik elders, staff from Anchorage’s Imaginarium Science Discovery Center and national experts in the field of informal science education. The Imaginarium also will host several sessions on Yup’ik Science during its 2008 Summer Science Camps.
The museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation, Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Northern Air Cargo, Alaska Airlines, BP, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Calista Corporation, Anchorage Museum Foundation and the Anchorage Museum Association.
For more information, call (907) 343-6151.