Last month Alaska Airlines said goodbye to its popular Salmon-Thirty-Salmon livery, which had adorned Boeing 737-800 N559AS for a number of years.
However, the airline has just unveiled the same aircraft in a brand new imagining of the special theme, designed by native artist Crystal Kaakeeyáa Rose Demientieff Worl.
Crystal’s latest masterpiece is named Xáat Kwáani (Salmon People). It’s the first aircraft in the history of any domestic airline to be named in an Alaska Native language and to depict the ancestral importance through Northwest Coast formline art.
“My heart is so full and warm,” says Crystal. “Every time I create something big or small, it’s the same feeling of just fulfilling this need and wanting to create something and share my story, to stimulate something that’s in me that feels connected. It feels good to say that I live in Juneau and fish and hunt here and eat off this land. My family’s been here for a long time, and I can say my ancestors are from here, and I’m eating the same food in the same place that they once were, and that’s really special to be able to share that and say that and feel that—and to create and retell their stories through my eyes. It’s powerful.”
Crystal even redesigned the NEN logo with a fresh take on formline art, featuring the beloved salmon.
“People will see it, they’ll read it, they’ll try to say ‘Xáat Kwáani’ (Salmon People), and they’ll want to know more and be curious to learn about it and want to feel connected to it. I think that’s significant in terms of the relationship we need to make between our languages that need speakers. So, I’m excited to be part of this.”