Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Giving Credit

model of three-hole baidarka by Sergie Sovoroff at the Alaska State Museum

Mike Livingston, Unangan (Aleut) boat builder has been working on bringing more recognition to traditional Aleut kayak builders, especially Sergie Sovoroff who was one of Mike's teachers. Sergei made models of baidarkas, complete with paddlers and all the accessories that went on the baidarkas. When I went to the Alaska State Museum in Anchorage with Mike last July, he showed me one of Sergie's models on display, and sure enough, the label that came with the model made no mention of Sergei.

In defense of the museum, we might point out the the people who donated the model to the museum may not have known who made the model and so the curators at the museum put what they knew on the label, namely the name of the donor.
But things are changing. Native artists are signing their works and are being represented by galleries and are starting to get paid reasonably for their work.
But if you're not an artist and just a person who makes stuff you still don't get to sign your work. The corporation puts their logo on it, but that's it. The only commercial product that I've seen with the name of the person on it who made the thing is cardboard boxes.
Moral of the story: if you want to be recognized for your work, put your name on it.

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