With the rain falling and the holidays approaching, it’s the perfect time to head indoors to familiarize yourself with the many offerings that Seattle’s numerous museums and galleries have to see. November also marks Native American Heritage Month, and there are a variety of ways to honor and celebrate the art that has emerged from the rich heritage and history of Indigenous peoples.
From learning about the history of tattooing to touring some of Seattle’s iconic glassworks and celebrating the legacy of Indigenous women in art, here are some ways around Seattle to see and support the work of local and Indigenous artists.
“Body Language: Reawakening of the Northwest Cultural Tattoo”
The Burke Museum celebrates the history and artistry of Native American tattooing through photographs, artifacts and contemporary art in “Body Language”. The exhibition is organized by the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver, BC and is co-curated by Nlaka’pamux-based tattoo artist and scholar Dion Kaszas, known for using traditional hand tattoo methods such as skin sutures and hand stitches. The exhibit highlights the place of tattooing on the Northwest Coast, showcasing both its historical site associated with celebration and personal identity, and its current ability to tell personal stories and create a sense of belonging. Body Language shows how these traditions, previously disrupted and outlawed, endured through the efforts of people like the Indigenous artists featured here.
Nov 6, 2022-16. Apr 2023; Burke Museum, 4303 Memorial Way NE, Seattle; burkemuseum.org
“Indigenous Matrix: Women Printmakers from the Northwest”
At the top of the Seattle Art Museum’s third floor galleries is Indigenous Matrix: Northwest Women Printmakers. This installation of contemporary works features the bold graphics and colors of Northwestern Aboriginal silkscreens by several Indigenous women, inspiring a new generation of Aboriginal women artists. The installation — featuring artists Pitseolak Ashoona, Francis Dick, Myra Kukiiyuat, Jesse Oonark, Susan Point, and Angotigolu Teevee — was curated by Kari Karsten, a member of the Seneca Nation and an aspiring curatorial intern at the museum. On your way up, stop by the recently renovated American Art Galleries, the centerpiece of which is Áakiiwilaxpaake (People of the Earth), a newly commissioned lightbox portrait by Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star.
Until December 11; Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Avenue, Seattle; seattleartmuseum.org
“Liquid in Nature”
We wouldn’t be talking about Seattle art if we didn’t include some glassworks. The Stonington Gallery showcases the work of three Washington State native glass masters: Dan Friday (Lummi), Preston Singletary (Tlingit), and Raven Skyriver (Tlingit). All three acclaimed artists have been featured around the world, including at institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian and the British Museum, and this exhibition focuses on their role in connecting indigenous tradition and imagery Cultures with the Present Glass Movement. Fluid in Nature invites you to explore the conversation between modernity and tradition while delving into the fluidity and complexity of identity.
Until November 26; 125 S. Jackson Street, Seattle; www.stontongallery.com
“That was a densely wooded hill”
As you enter the Henry Art Gallery’s lobby gallery, you are greeted by a cascading archive of objects that were part of “this was a thickly wooded hill”. This plant comes from yəhaw Indigenous Creative Collective, an urban arts nonprofit run by Indigenous women (which also has a wonderful selection of online exhibitions to view). The foundation of the installation came about as the organization was looking for land after receiving funding to purchase a Seattle location for transformative land-based arts programs. The installation will continue to grow as the exhibition progresses. The installation is set within the broader context of the ongoing displacement of indigenous and indigenous peoples and the preservation of that displacement in museums.
Until March 2023; Henry Art Gallery, 15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St., Seattle; henryart.org
“Indigenous Art of the Salish Sea”
Visit the Vashon Center for the Arts to see this group exhibition of artists from and around the Salish Sea region. The exhibition includes paintings, prints and glasswork and artist Dan Friday will give an artist talk in conjunction with the exhibition on November 6th. This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Stonington Gallery and local local artists to showcase the unique style of the area’s artists, both traditional and contemporary.
4th-27th Nov; Vashon Center for the Arts, 19600 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon; www.vashoncenterforthearts.org