Nicholas Galanin: White Noise, American Prayer Rug

Quint Gallery’s ONE is pleased to present a tapestry by Tlingit and Unangax̂ multi-disciplinary artist Nicholas Galanin, whose work offers perspective rooted in connection to land and broad engagement with contemporary culture while exploring the complexities of Indigenous identity and representation.

In White Noise, American Prayer Rug, a version of which was exhibited at the 2019 Whitney Biennial in New York, a woven image of static on a television set reflects contemporary America’s relationship with white noise, an acoustic tone that can be used to drown out unwanted sounds. Although prayer rugs typically serve as movable sites of devotion, this one is hung on a wall in place of a flat screen television, mirroring the various tools we use to distract ourselves from land, from water, from connection. The title of this work equally references the sources of political power and media creating constant noise to mask and obliterate the reality of America’s colonial past and present. Here there is no space for prayer, only noise.

Galanin earned his BFA at London Guildhall University in Jewelry Design and his MFA in Indigenous Visual Arts at Massey University in New Zealand. He has exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, including the Native American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017, the 2019 Whitney Biennial, and the 2020 Sydney Biennale. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the National Gallery of Canada, LACMA, among others. A seminal work, “Never Forget,” is currently on view in the 2021 iteration of Desert X in Palm Springs. He lives and works in Sitka, Alaska.