THE WHALE HOUSE (2019)
A Native Alaskan community heals and rediscovers its traditional culture through the return and restoration of its most sacred stolen artwork; the Whale House carvings which are considered by many to be the “Sistine Chapel” of Native American Art.
Details
88
Animals, Nature, Arts & Culture, Civilization, Documentary, History
Lani Hotch, Wayne Price, Tresham Gregg, Tim Ackerman, Dr. Rosita Worl
Margarita Ramon
Margarita Ramon
Michela Raske, Margarita Ramon
Jim Compton
Completed
Canada
Synopsis
“The Whale House” follows the Native Alaskan community of Klukwan/Haines as it heals and rediscovers its traditional culture through the return and restoration of its most sacred stolen artwork. Carved by Tlingit genius artist Kadjisdu.axtc in the 1800s, the Whale House carvings are considered by many to be the “Sistine Chapel” of Native American Art. The Alaskan town of Klukwan was the epicenter of the Tlingit civilization. For centuries southern museums and art dealers coveted the Whale House treasures. In 1984, the unparalleled Whale House carvings were taken from them by an art dealer who saw their price, but not their value. What followed was a decade-long court battle and unprecedented legal judgment of Tribal Law to have the artifacts given back to the Tlingit’s. Even though the artwork was eventually returned, the trial divided the community setting Native against Native. A condition of the arts’ return was for the community to create a place for it to be properly appreciated. In 2016, after years of turmoil in the community, the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center opened to the public in Klukwan. Now, Tlingit art is helping to heal the traumas of the conquest and creating opportunities of artistic self-expression and influence for Alaska’s first Peoples. Feature documentary “The Whales House” takes viewers on a first-person journey through the pain, healing, resilience, and celebration of the Tlingit people and the cultural resurgence taking place through their traditional art, led by the empowering women of Alaska. Featuring: Lani Hotch; a strong woman from Klukwan who championed the fight for the return of the Whale House artifacts; Wayne Price who is fast becoming the next Picasso of Native art in his quest to heal Natives away from addiction, grief and turmoil; Daniel Lee Henry, frontier historian, educator and speaker on the complex history of the Tlingit peoples; Tresham Gregg; a non-Native artist and performer who’s caused controversy with his work in Haines, Alaska, and Tim Ackerman a Native warrior and storyteller working to preserve the culture within in the community, as well as many others. The first documentary feature from filmmaker Margarita Ramon, “The Whale House” explores the cross-pollination between white and Native artists, our long-lost connection with wild animal spirits, the politically incorrect relation between art and commerce and who gets to represent Native culture in the age of massive tourism and popular New Age spirituality. With rare performances by renowned artists and luminaries from Alaska and Canada, “The Whale House” is an engaging look at the artistic Native Renaissance of the Pacific Northwest....more
Production Stills

Title

Contents

Close