Formline Salmon by Crystal Worl
New Design on Alaska Airlines Plane
Juneau artist Crystal Worl stands in front of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 named Xáat Kwáani (Salmon People), which bears her design. (Photo by Ingrid Barrentine, courtesy of Alaska Airlines).
- On Friday May 12th, the airplane Xáat Kwáani made its inaugural flight from Anchorage to Juneau, continuing on to Sitka, Ketchikan & Seattle.
A piece by Katie Anastas, KTOO – Juneau, & Rhonda McBride, KNBA – Anchorage, was published by APM on May 12, 2023:
Now (Worl’s) blue, white and pink design — depicting salmon in Northwest Coast formline — completely covers a passenger jet. The Boeing 737 was formally unveiled Thursday at an Anchorage hangar, in an event featuring Tsimshian dancers.
“Every time I looked at an Alaska plane, I couldn’t help but visualize the salmon being in formline, or having some sort of design that represents identity,” she told the airline in a press release. “I can’t help but look at things and see how to Indigenize them.”
The art on the plane features four salmon, painted to look like fish in flight, representing the salmon’s life cycle with its eggs on the tail. Worl says she hopes the design will help people understand the salmon’s environment and the need to protect them.
The above-mentioned Alaska Air press release contains a link to a 2-minute promotional YouTube video entitled Alaska Airlines Salmon People Aircraft – about the new aircraft and what inspired Worl to come up with the design. The short video notes that this is the first US aircraft “to be named in an Alaska Native language and to depict salmon through a Northwest Coast art form.”