Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Arlyn Ackley Visits IAIA to See Aunt’s Artwork

Arlyn Ackley Visits IAIA to See Aunt’s Artwork

Vice Chairman Arlyn Ackley, Jr., recently traveled to New Mexico to attend a Farm Bill meeting. While there, his visit triggered memories of conversations with his Aunt Alice.

“When I was young, my Aunt Alice told me that if I ever got to New Mexico, I should stop and see her artwork at the museum in Santa Fe,” Arlyn remembered. “At the time, I thought that I would never get there, but when this opportunity to came up, I knew I had to go.”

While on a lunch break from the Farm Bill meeting, Arlyn visited the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). He met with Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer, Curator of Collections, and asked if he could view is Aunt Alice’s artwork. She searched for Alice Ackley’s name, but wasn’t able to locate any artwork.

Undeterred, Arlyn called his cousin Amy, Alice’s daughter, who explained her mother was married to a Marine for a couple of years and her married name was Loiselle. Arlyn followed up with Tatiana, who was then able to locate what turned out to be an extraordinary collection of work.

“When I returned to the Institute after my meetings, I expected to see small paintings. I was dumbfounded by the scope of how big her work was; many of the paintings are seven feet tall and seven feet wide!”

As he viewed the work of his Aunt Alice,”I got goosebumps and choked up. It was very emotional. We never got to see these, and now I’m viewing them at a museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico,” he said.

Arlyn expressed his gratitude to Tatiana, sharing some of his family’s history. He noted that Alice was the granddaughter of Chief Ackley and pointed out that one the pieces of art was of her grandfather.

Arlyn asked if it was possible to obtain reproductions of the art and Tatiana is working to create high-quality images to send to him.

“I know there are other people in her paintings who are family and I’m going to visit my Uncle Fred, who will know who the people are,” Arlyn explained. “Some of the paintings were done when Aunt Alice was 19 years old. I am really proud of her work and glad that I was able to see them.”

More information can be found on the Institute of American Indian Arts website.