The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center has been promoting Indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression, and economic development since 1995. From August 24-31, 2017, the Longhouse hosted Tears of Duk’Wibahl, an international gathering of Indigenous artists of the Pacific Rim. The name reflects a Twana story, recalling the sacred origin of the rivers and streams, and is a call to action to protect Earth’s waterways. Over 100 artists from the continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Samoa, and New Zealand gathered to share ideas, address social issues, and learn from each other.
With support from Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the Longhouse was able to lift the economic burdens of attending this event, allowing more room for creativity to blossom and collaboration to unfold between master and emerging Indigenous artists through subsidized lodging, meals, art supplies, studio rental and equipment, and ground transportation. Over the course of eight days, eight studio areas were led by prominent artists within each field: Dempsey Bob (Tahltan/Tlingit) in carving, Marwin Begaye (Diné) in printmaking, Yvonne Peterson and Trudy Marcellay (Chehalis) of the Hazel Pete Institute of Chehalis Basketry in weaving, Larry McNeil (Nisga’a/Tlingit) in digital art & photography, Denis Wallace (Aleut) in jewelry, and Dan Friday (Lummi) in glass. Additionally, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Artist Fellows Jim Denomie (Ojibwe) led a studio in painting, while Nora Naranjo Morse (Tewa) led a clay studio. Four tribes including Nisqually, Chehalis, Squaxin Island and Skokomish hosted the group for cultural activities and dinner. About 300 community members from the host tribes participated in these events.
The event culminated with an Indigenous art exhibition at the Evergreen Gallery in Olympia, Washington, on display through December 10, 2017. Featured mediums including painting, printmaking, ceramics, fine metals, fiber arts, beadwork, carving, digital media, and glass. Over 400 people attended the opening of the exhibition which included a dance performance by Git Hoan, David Boxley’s dance group.
NACF is proud to have supported the Tears of Duk’Wibahl gathering and the Longhouse’s mission to support Indigenous artists and their work, as well as create a safe and creative space for artistic and cultural expression. According to our friends at the Longhouse:
“The artist gathering sustains our international Indigenous arts reputation and introduces us to the next generation of artist organizational leaders who also participated in the event. The exhibition… on display from August 26- December 10, 2017, brings to the forefront Indigenous arts which comprise an entirely separate canon of art histories, practices and work from Western European art forms.
For more images from the Gathering, please visit the Evergreen Longhouse Facebook page.