ARTIST: KANDI MCGILTON


Kandi McGilton

Kandi McGilton

Mangyepsa Gyipaayg, whose English name is Kandi McGilton, is a Ts’msyen (Tsimshian) artist from Metlakatla, Alaska. Her work focuses primarily on beaded devilfish bags and Annette Island cedar bark weaving, and has included ancient designs of these traditional artforms in her work with Eighth Generation.

A self-taught beader, Kandi’s award-winning devilfish bags, which are traditional pieces of regalia, are known for their elegant aesthetic, tasteful color combinations, and creative use of space.

The endangered and unique Annette Island basketry style, preserved and taught to her by renowned Haida weaver Iilskyalas—Dr. Delores Churchill—features an intricate and visually-striking element called “false embroidery.” She also apprenticed with Haida weaver Holly Churchill and teaches Annette Island weaving when possible.

Kandi’s weaving journey intersects with her work in The Haayk Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to rapidly produce new fluent speakers of Sm’algya̱x. With fluent speaker G̱oodm Nluułgm Xsgyiik—Sarah Booth—and the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, Kandi created a free, publicly-available documentary aimed at preserving not only this unique Ts’msyen art form, but the Sm’algya̱x weaving words as well.

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