Indigenous Art Exhibit Opens at Evergreen

(Olympia, Wash.) In recognition of the strong relationship between the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College and indigenous artists around the world, the “House of Welcome” Longhouse presents an exhibition featuring more than 70 indigenous artists at the Evergreen Gallery, located in the college’s library building.

In addition to a Grand Opening Thursday, March 31 at 5 p.m., the Gallery will hold an artists’ talk on Tuesday, April 26, also at 5 p.m. The exhibit runs through May 11.

Building Upon the Past, Visioning Into the Future showcases the works of master artists operating at the top of their fields as well as mid-career and emerging artists, all of whom have participated in Longhouse programming over the years. The featured artists have received grants, taught workshops, exhibited, done residencies or otherwise participated in Longhouse programs.

Curated by Longhouse staff members and artists, Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) and Linley Logan (Seneca), the works on view include paintings, drums, garments, sculpture, masks, beadwork, photography, paddles, baskets, prints, ceramics, carvings, vessels and jewelry and draw from a diverse range of stylistic traditions. “Artists are luminaries of their cultures, lighting the pathway back into the far reaches of history, and leading the way into the future with their creative vision,” said Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, Longhouse Director, of the important role artists play in their communities, “It’s been an honor to work with so many gifted Native artists through the work of the Longhouse over the years, many of whom are featured in this show.”

The exhibit features a significant collection of woven pieces and baskets from master weavers and emphasizes the Longhouse’s current initiative to build a fiber arts studio on the Indigenous Arts Campus at The Evergreen State College. Also featured are glass vessels created using basket designs which demonstrate the way traditional design can beautifully translate into new media. Glass sculptures capture concepts, form and light and reflect the vision of a future cast glass studio on the Indigenous Arts Campus. Other sculptural forms created in clay, bronze and wood, and two-dimensional pieces spotlight the mastery of media the Longhouse artists are fluent in.

In addition to the artists from North America, Building Upon the Past, Visioning Into the Future highlights the relationships with indigenous artists from around the Pacific Rim, which the Longhouse has cultivated over the years, including Kanaka Maoli artists from Hawaii and Maori artists from New Zealand. Works from some of the Toi SgwigwialɁtxw artists-in-residence appear in the show to pay homage to our connections to Maori artists and partnerships with Maori arts organizations.

The exhibit honors the Longhouse’s 20th anniversary year, at a time when Evergreen’s Indigenous Arts programs are expanding to include a carving studio, which opened last fall, and a fiber arts studio, which is expected to break ground this summer.

The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, “House of Welcome,” is a public service center located at The Evergreen State College. Its mission is to promote indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression and economic development.