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We Are Not Alone

Mark Preston, 2000


  • Mixed Media


Mark Preston


Birch, glass, copper


Mixed media


304.8 x 365.76 cm

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Dawson City-born, Tlingit/Irish artist Mark Preston conceptualizes an architecture all his own in the commanding wall-mounted construction, We Are Not Alone. Comprised of two obelisk-shaped panels connected by a rectangular-framed design, Preston’s work appears abstract yet reveals a powerful narrative through the deliberate interplay of shapes and the intricately carved scenes that are composed within. Underscoring generational interconnectivity, the right panel’s three-tiered composition represents humans of the past, present and future. The copper disk at the top symbolizes the bright future that Preston’s figures reach to with open arms. The corresponding left panel represents the possible futures of humanity. Here, Preston carves a betwixt environment of diagrammatic elements paired with a crescent moon and a solitary, silhouetted figure. The human gestures upward to a glass disc imbued with a Northwest Coast formline face, like that of a spirit mask. The geometric design framed by a blue rectangle links both panels from behind, expressing the universal voice of mathematical language. For the artist, this unifying device articulates an important message of celebrating cultural diversity: “Not only can we learn from the experience of our ancestors, but from the experience of other nations as well.” Consequently, we are not alone but rather a collective enhanced by our similarities and differences.