Land of Exploitation

University of Alaska Anchorage, Kimura Gallery, 1999

Materials: six ton of river rock with four steel basins filled with oil, Sitka spruce timber with pump and oil flowing, Sitka spruce board with pine pitch and animal skulls indigenous to Alaska: Beluga whale, polar bear, artic wolf, sea lion, seal, sea otter, and salmon, animal bladders with oil

The exhibition of Land of Exploitation happened to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  Creating this installation allowed me to explore the story of Alaska - a story of manifest destiny - Seward's folly having become a province for plundering, a land of exploitation. 

Bisecting a rectangular 35' x 6' bed of gravel, a line of oil flowed down an 18' long Sitka spruce beam, pouring into the first of four circular pans.  These pans, 2' in diameter, were filled with oil and hanging above each of these pans was a gall bladder filled with oil.  Behind the spruce beam rose a totem towards the ceiling and attached to this timber were the skulls of seven animals indigenous to Alaska: Beluga whale, polar bear, artic wolf, sea lion, sea otter, seal, and salmon.