Burke Museum’s Newest Exhibit Celebrates Native Art from the Pacific Northwest

Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired  November 22, 2014 – July 27, 2015

Source: Burke Museum

Seattle Northwest Native artists create 30 new works inspired by 200 years of history.

 Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired features work by artists whose practice has been informed by the objects in the Burke’s collections, demonstrating how today’s artists and art historians learn from past generations. The exhibit will include contemporary works in a variety of media alongside the historic pieces that artists identified as key to their learning. “The objects in the Burke’s collection embody the knowledge of their makers and they can be a catalyst for transferring this knowledge across generations,” explains exhibit curator and assistant director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse.

Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Bill Holm Center, Here & Now explores the dynamic relationship between the Burke Museum and Northwest Native art, artists, and scholars. In the past ten years, over ninety grants have been awarded by the center to researchers, artists, and graduate students. The grant program is unique in its breadth, providing funding for artists to conduct workshops in their own communities, and travel funding to study collections at the Burke Museum or other institutions that hold collections key to an artist or researcher’s interests. These grantees have all contributed to the current dynamism of Northwest Native art.

 Here & Now shares the results of the conversations artists have with historical artworks. Celebrate master artists of the past and present and share in the enthusiasm and creativity of today’s emerging artists.

 

The Kwakwaka’wakw transformation mask that inspired the design of the original Seahawks logo. Photo courtesy of the Hudson Museum

The Kwakwaka’wakw transformation mask that inspired the design of the original Seahawks logo.
Photo courtesy of the Hudson Museum

 

The Mask That Inspired the Seahawks Logo:  In the lead up to the 2014 Super Bowl, Dr. Robin K. Wright, Curator of Native American Art and Director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art at the Burke Museum and Bill Holm – one of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of Northwest Coast Native art history – tracked down the origins of the Seahawk’s logo. A photo in Robert Bruce Inverarity’s 1950 book, Art of the Northwest Coast Indians depicts a Kwakwaka’wakw transformation mask which depicts an eagle in its closed form with a human face inside (revealed when the mask opens). Further research revealed press articles from 1976 that described this Kwakwaka’wakw mask from Vancouver Island as the source of the logo. It is now part of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine’s collections.

During Here & Now, the mask will be displayed along with Native artists’ interpretations of the signature Seahawks design and logo. The Burke is currently fundraising through Kickstarter to bring community experts from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation to the museum to study the mask and for further preservation and mounting before it is put on display. To meet our goal, the museum still needs to raise about $6,000 and we are encouraging fans to donate $12 to the cause.

Meet the artists of Here & Now! On Sunday, November 23, participate in a panel discussion with selected artists whose work is featured in the exhibit, Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired; and join them for in-gallery conversations about their work. See the documentary “Tracing Roots,” which offers a heartfelt glimpse into the world of Haida elder and weaver Delores Churchill, and visit with her daughter and renowned weaver Evelyn Vanderhoop. Get an up close view of tools and techniques as Burke Curator Sven Haakanson demonstrates the process of cleaning and preparing a Kodiak bear intestine for use in clothing and boat-making.

 

About the Burke Museum:  The Burke Museum is located on the University of Washington campus, at the corner of NE 45th St. and 17th Ave. NE. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily, and until 8 pm on first Thursdays. Admission: $10 general, $8 senior, $7.50 student/ youth. Admission is free to children four and under, Burke members, UW students, faculty, and staff. Admission is free to the public on the first Thursday of each month. Prorated parking fees are $15 and partially refundable upon exit if paid in cash. Call 206-543-5590 or visit www.burkemuseum.org. The Burke Museum is an American Alliance of Museums-accredited museum and a Smithsonian Affiliate.

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or email at dso@u.washington.edu. The University of Washington makes every effort to honor disability accommodation requests. Requests can be responded to most effectively if received as far in advance of the event as possible, preferably at least 10 days.