Washington State History Museum announcement.
Tacoma, WA – The Washington State History Museum’s annual exhibition of contemporary works by Native American artists is returning this summer. On view from June 16 through September 11, 2022, the juried exhibition features 38 original works by 26 artists. While most of the artists are from the Pacific Northwest, entries for IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts came from as far away as Dameron, Maryland, and Haines, Alaska, with several entries from British Columbia as well.
A variety of forms and mediums will be displayed, including textiles, sculpture, basketry, painting, carving, mixed media, glass, and digital works. Each work in the gallery will be accompanied by the artist’s statement.
Shana Yellow Calf Lukinich, Northern Arapaho, has a pair of colorful paintings in the exhibition; it is her first year participating in IN THE SPIRIT. “For me, being a part of this exhibition is an honor and allows me to share my contemporary style of Native American art, which is a mixture of Pacific Northwest, Plains and Chippewa/Metis style art, and represents the blending of nations in vibrant colors,” she said. “This exhibit opens the doors to a more contemporary look and style of Native American art and allows me to show others my rich heritage, influences and upbringing.”
The artists’ statements often share their inspirations and influences. A stunning work of art by PḰȺELWEȽTEN Charles W Bloomfield (Pyramid Lake Paiute) speaks to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and people. His statement, Bloomfield describes In Remembrance of the Missing and Murdered, created with ink on a wool blanket over the form of a curled human body: “They are our sisters, our mothers, cousins, brothers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, our neighbors, teachers, artists, friends. They are our loved ones. They are also missing or are presumed murdered. … We long to find them, to bring them home to their people, to their land and to their ancestors so that they may be put to rest in a respectful and good way. … We need the world to know the horrific statistics on violence towards us as a people, to stop fetishizing our women, to see us as a people who deserve human rights, dignity and respect.” Bloomfield is an award-winning artist whose works have been included in a number of previous IN THE SPIRIT exhibitions, and he has also participated on the advisory committee and as a past juror for the exhibition.
Like Bloomfield, a number of the artists in the 2022 exhibition have had works featured in previous years. Some of the artists that may be familiar to visitors include Sonia Barry (Aleut), Celeste Dybeck (Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe), Chenoa Egawa (Coast Salish of the Lummi and S’Klallam Nations), Denise L. Emerson (Navajo and enrolled Skokomish), Carly Feddersen (Colville Confederated Tribes), Sean Gallagher (Inupiat), Linley Logan (Seneca Nation), Cynthia Masterson (Comanche), Annette Pierce (Kalispel Tribe), Ayanna Proctor (Piscataway Conoy Tribe of the Chesapeake region), and Jennifer Angaiak Wood (Yup’ik). It is also exciting to see new artists participating in this notable exhibition with each new iteration.
As part of the exhibition, artists have the opportunity to receive awards. The 2022 IN THE SPIRIT Artist Awards will be presented on opening night, Thursday, June 16, at 6:00 PM. Guests can enjoy light refreshments, explore the exhibition, and hear from some of the award-winning artists and jurors. Admission to the museum is free from 3:00-8:00 PM on June 16.
Each iteration of IN THE SPIRIT is comprised of works entered by artists for review in a blind-jury process (meaning the artist’s identities are not revealed as the works are presented for consideration). The jurors are professional artists or work in the field of fine arts. The Historical Society is grateful to the 2022 jurors, Alyne DeCoteau (Yakama and Cayuse), HollyAnna CougarTracks DeCoteau Littlebull (Yakama, Nez Perce, Cayuse, Cree), and JD Olney Shellenberger (Yakama).
In addition to working with the jurors, the Historical Society’s collections and exhibitions teams work with a Native Advisory Committee to shape the exhibition and the accompanying IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market & Northwest Native Festival. The free indoor/outdoor festival will be held on August 6 in collaboration with the Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass, and includes an artist vendor market, cultural music and dance, a Native designer fashion show, art-making opportunities, and free access to all three museums for the day.
Also of note, active duty military families can see IN THE SPIRIT for free up until September 4. The Washington State History Museum offers free admission for active duty military and up to five family members with ID from May 21 through September 4 as part of the Blue Star Museums program.
Get all the details for IN THE SPIRIT Contemporary Native Arts exhibition at www.WashingtonHistory.org/in-the-spirit.