The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition at the Center for Native Arts and Cultures in Portland, Oregon. “Where the Waters Come Together” explores Indigenous perspectives of our relationships with rivers and oceans. The exhibition features Native artists responding to fundamental questions around cultural buoyancy, biodiversity protection, food sources and material necessities, and the realities of the colonial reshaping of traditional access to waterways and shorelines.
Native artists across the country have been responding to social and environmental issues that affect them and their communities. They are drawing increased attention to Native perspectives in shifting a national narrative of invisibility, misunderstanding and misappropriation. Clear in all of this work are our essential relationships to land-base. Through this lens, Native artists in the exhibition employ several mediums, including two and three-dimensional works, installations and multi-media works, moving fluidly between contemporary and traditional practices.
EXHIBITION – APRIL 22-JUNE 30, 2022
WHEN: Wednesdays-Fridays 11:00 AM-6:00 PM and Saturdays 11:00 AM-4:00 PM (PST)
WHERE: Center for Native Arts and Cultures, 800 SE 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
* This event is free and open to the public.
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
Greg Archuleta is an artist and educator. He teaches about the culture and history of the Tribes of Western Oregon, including ethnobotany, carving, cedar hat making, Native art design, and basketry. Many of his cedar and basalt carvings have been on display in the northwest, linked to Willamette Falls and the Columbia and Clackamas Rivers. Archuleta notes that his work focuses on place and often depicts a Native perspective on historical events. These include the destruction of tribal community after the Federal government’s termination of the Grand Ronde tribes in 1954, but also serve to document the cultural reclamation of community, identity and cultural arts.
Sean Gallagher is a visual artist and traditional watercraft vessel builder who specializes in carving, two and three-dimensional art in multiple mediums. His works are influenced by traditional teaching and current experiences with a reverence for the future. Themes include environmental justice, making visible endangered traditional works, and the experiences of essential workers including carvers and labor. Carving masks under the direction of elder Larry Ahvakana (Point Barrow, Inupiaq) increased Gallagher’s skillset and connections to fine art. Additionally, his Uncle Lou taught him about design work. Gallagher creates traditional skin on frame kayaks, which often show up in his works and inform his values around connecting to place and beings in a respectful way.
Kanaka Maoli / Native Hawaiian
Lehuauakea is a māhū mixed-Native Hawaiian interdisciplinary artist and kapa maker from Pāpaʻikou on Moku O Keawe, the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Through a range of craft-based media, their art addresses cultural and biological ecologies, spectrums of Indigeneity, and contemporary environmental degradation. With a focus on ʻohe kāpala (carved bamboo printing tools), kapa (bark cloth), and natural pigments, Lehua breathes new life into patterns and traditions practiced for generations. The artist is currently based between the Pacific Northwest and Pāpaʻikou after earning their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting with a minor in Art + Ecology at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Brenda Mallory lives in Portland, Oregon but grew up in Oklahoma and is a citizen of Cherokee Nation. She received a BA in Linguistics & English from UCLA and a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Mallory has received grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, Ford Family Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council. Awards include the Eiteljorg Museum Contemporary Native Art Fellowship, NACF National Artist Fellowship, and Ucross Native Fellowship Residency. Texture and repeated rhythmic forms are instrumental to Mallory’s abstract compositions. Using mainly reclaimed materials, she explores ideas of disruption, repair, and interconnections in long-established systems in nature and human cultures.
Andrew Michael was born in Bethel, Alaska. He and his twin brother grew up in Eagle River, Alaska. He started learning carving at age 13, learning from archeologist Bob Shaw, printmaker Joe Senungetuk, and contemporary Athabascan mask-maker, Kathleen Carlo. Michael focuses on how masks were originally used by Yup’ik people, for healing and telling stories of things unseen. His work incorporates healing practices of the Yup’ik people and religious icons of European Christianity. The artist hopes to encourage people to find healing in ways that bring about balance in much the same way he has used these practices to find balance in his own life.
Sara Siestreem is a master artist from the Umpqua River Valley on the South Coast of Oregon. She comes from a family of professional artists and educators; her training began in the home. Her lifelong mentor is Lillian Pitt (Wasco, Warm Springs, Yakama); and her weaving teachers are Greg Archuleta (Grand Ronde) and Greg A. Robinson (Chinook Nation). She earned an MFA from Pratt Art Institute in 2007 and has been gallery represented since 2010. Her studio work is multi-disciplinary. Her primary language is painting, but she also works in photography, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, video, traditional Indigenous weaving, and large-scale installation. Her art practice branches into education and institutional reform and these concepts directly influence and are reflected in her artwork and public presence.
Enrolled with Coquille Indian Tribe
Shirod Younker is an artist and educator who grew up canoeing, crabbing, clamming, and fishing the waters of the South Slough in Coos Bay, Oregon, where his tribes old village used to be. His work is deeply intertwined with community engagement and education, which includes his participation in Journeys In Creativity: Explorations in Native American Art. He and his wife also manage The Changing Currents Tribal Water Leadership program to help educate and build a network of tribal leaders and tribal youth. The program strives to create a better understanding of the hydrologic natural and man-made infrastructure systems so that all our communities can enjoy clean water in the near future.
Masks are preferred and strongly recommended while visiting the Center for Native Arts and Cultures. All visitors will be required to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The health of our staff, elders, and visitors is very important to us and we thank you for helping us keep the Center a safe environment.