“Many Northwest Native artists learn from family members. Some artists seek a mentor willing to accept an apprentice. Others find their teachers in books and in museums, as I have. I pick up the book and turn to the page I know so well—the woven robe that woke my senses to the beauty of Salish weaving. The colors, so vibrant after 300 years, are skillfully used in the designs. I imagine a woman as the weaver. She is my teacher. I feel her presence as I sit at my loom attempting to replicate her work. I will never know the names of the basket weavers I have chosen to learn from but I truly believe we are all connected in spirit.”
Northwest Native Art
What is your artistic heritage?
Six Pacific Northwest Native artists from across the region answered this question in creating the inaugural exhibit in the Northwest Native Art Gallery. Featuring both newly-created and historic basketry, carvings, multimedia art, and more, these women bring personal meanings to Native art while embracing the heritage of their ancestors and cultures.
In addition to future rotating exhibitions from artists, the gallery is anchored by permanent displays of monumental objects including a 35-foot canoe, welcome figure, totem poles, and house posts.
Co-curators Betty Pasco (Suquamish), Pat Courtney Gold (Wasco), Evelyn Vanderhoop (Haida), Lou-ann Neel (Kwakwaka’wakw), Alison Marks (Tlingit), and RYAN! Feddersen (Okanogan and Lakes) selected works from the Burke Museum’s collections and created new pieces inspired by their reflections on artistic heritage. They come from communities across the Pacific Northwest and represent both diverse artistic backgrounds and generational experiences. This gallery represents not only their interests in the rich artistic traditions of our region, but also their own journey as artists.
These women hold deep expertise and insight about the range of artwork made by both men and women in the Pacific Northwest in current and past generations. Their collaboration is groundbreaking in a region where the majority of artistic interpretation has been produced by—and has privileged—the work of men. The Burke thanks them for sharing their artwork and knowledge.