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Janna Avner

2023 Eric and Barbara Dobkin Fellow

Koyukon Athabascan creative, Janna Avner (she/her), joins the SAR Native Artist Fellowship community as its first practicing light artist. Using light as her primary medium, Avner seeks to reclaim romanticizations of landscape imagery and incorporate expansive interpretations of Indigeneity, perception, and the environment. Her pieces serve as visual metaphors that, at times, contain projections of beadwork and hologram recreations of the Northern Lights. 

In Avner’s words:

“I investigate through paintings and videos whether natural light in landscape imagery makes us aware of our own cognitive experiences and of how vital our own perception is…[I] metaphorically use [light] to reimagine perception as theoretical, subliminal, and personal. I seek to communicate that perception is as much a simplistic act as it is a subjective creation.”

While at SAR, Janna will explore the integration of painting and light sources through the materiality of dichroic films, projection mapping – and, of course, light. She seeks to create the feeling of a displaced body of light as a metaphor for the displacement felt as a multi-heritage Alaska Native.



Janna Avner (Koyukon Athabascan), “Athabascan Ghost Wave Flower Test 5 Light Sculpture”, 2021. Glass, mirror, projector, hologram. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Janna Avner (Koyukon Athabascan) and Sasha Fishman, “Bioplastic (Blooper Prism) detail”, 2021. Chitosan, algae, hologram, LED light, 20″ x 30″. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Janna Avner : Artist Talk

Thursday, May 18 @  5:30pm – 7:00pm

Join us in person for this event follow by a live Q&A and studio tour.