International Gallery features Egyptian-themed art

Mike Dunham
"Maat Inspires Thoth," by Donald Ricker, is part of the "Tomb of Reason" at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art.
Scott Silver
Photo courtesy 2012 North Words Writers Symposium
Tammy Moser and the 1,000th copy of "The Snow Child" sold at Fireside Books in Palmer.

Donald Ricker has configured the tiny space on the south side of the International Gallery of Contemporary Art into a mini-maze suggesting an ancient Egyptian temple. Entering the installation "Tomb of Reason: New work in an ancient iconography" from either of two doors, the viewer passes by several sculpted panels in the style of old Memphis -- the one in Africa, not the home of the blues.

"Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god who personified reason, is the subject," Ricker writes. "His stories are interesting to many, especially to artists and to those who make their living using language."

The panels are behind glass, some of which seemed cloudy, which made a couple of the pieces hard to see. But the layout is pretty cool.

Also at the International is a splendid show of animal-inspired art in diverse media by advanced sculpture students at UAA. The stitched hide raven particularly caught my attention.

In the main space, painter Betany Porter has a series of desolate images depicting scenes in Barrow, vacant-looking ramshackle buildings, a dead fox, a seal carcass.

The displays will remain up through Saturday.

Best-seller sells well at home too

A local literary milestone of sorts was reached on March 28 when Tammy Moser of Palmer bought the 1,000th copy of "The Snow Child" to be sold at Palmer's Fireside Books -- where author Eowyn Ivey happens to work.

"I don't think we've ever sold 1,000 copies of a single title before," said David Cheezem of Fireside. "Even the Harry Potter books didn't move that fast."

Ivey's fairy tale-inspired novel has remained in the top 10 on the Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers best-seller list since its release in February. It also rose into the top 25 on the McClatchy-Tribune best-seller list for at least one week in March.

Hollywood heavyweight in Skagway

Screenwriter Scott Silver, whose work includes "The Fighter" and "8 Mile," will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 North Words Writers Symposium in Skagway. Silver's current projects include adapting Howard Blum's "Floor of Heaven" for Fox -- and he will be in the right place for researching that job. The Blum book is about famed cowboy detective Charlie Siringo and his interaction with George Carmack and Soapy Smith during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Silver will be joined by several Alaska writers on the faculty: Lynn Schooler, Deb Vanasse, John Straley, Heather Lende, Seth Kantner, Kim Heacox, Nick Jans and Dave Hunsaker. The event takes place between May 30 and June 2. A maximum of 50 participants will be accepted. Registration is now open on the symposium website,, where you'll also get more information. You can also call Jeff Brady (907-973-2354, email or or Buckwheat Donahue (907-983-2854, email

Back on the shelves

After losing it's place on the shelves of Barnes & Noble due to a marketing dispute with Amazon, Debby Dahl Edwardson's novel "My Name is Not Easy," about Alaska boarding schools, is due to return.

By one estimate some 250 authors published by Marshall Cavendish were affected when Amazon bought the publishers list of young people's literature in December. Barnes & Noble made a decision not to stock Amazon-owned titles because of the way that the e-giant conducts business, perceived by many to be ruthless and unfair, driving small book stores out of business around the country.

That's likely to continue, said the Authors Guild, which had urged Barnes & Noble to restock the banished volumes. But despite the temporary victory, they added, "Barnes & Noble isn't backing down. Its executives made clear to us that it is making this exception because it announced the policy after Amazon announced its purchase of the Marshall Cavendish titles. For any new Amazon acquisitions, Barnes & Noble's policy is to ban the books from their shelves."

Meanwhile, Alaskans can again buy the Barrow author's book at Barnes & Noble stores in Anchorage and Fairbanks -- or should soon. As of Thursday I still had to order it.

'Cormorant' migration

Poet Joan Kane, author of an award-winning debut collection "The Cormorant Hunter's Wife," is between stops on a West Coast tour. Earlier this month she appeared with other Alaska authors, including Peggy Shumaker and Nicole Stellon O'Donnell in Los Angeles. Coming up are readings at Dine College in Tsaile, Ariz., on Wednesday and the Institute of American Indian Arts on Thursday.

What became of 'humanity'?

Those who thought the headline of last week's main article in Life & Arts looked a bit strange were right. The article about the Alaska Quarterly Review's roundup of world-class photographers addressing international liberty and justice issues with their cameras was originally titled, "Pain, hope, humanity." That's what it looked like when it left the newsroom. But it seems like the font used for the last word wasn't recognized on the printing side. The result in your Sunday paper was a headline that read, "Pain, hope," -- sort of like the early days of blue screen techniques in color television, when a newscaster or interview subject would wear a blue jacket and appear to lose his or her torso or have it suddenly turn into the background image.

It could have been worse. We might have dropped the last word in a headline from the legislative briefs on page A-8 of the April 13 edition: "House OKs sex-trafficking bill."

Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.

Blog: Art Snob
Anchorage Daily News