Woven, an exhibition in the Portland International Airport, challenges preconceived notions of Native art by balancing contemporary creative expression with cultural heritage. Weaving is a tradition that carries a strong spiritual connection within Native cultures. The weaving process is handed down from generation to generation, and carries cultural information in designs that remain rooted in tradition. Each of the artists in the exhibition honor the importance of the weavers who influenced them while focusing on their own unique process of creativity.
Lisa Telford (Haida), 2018 NACF Mentor Artist Fellow, comes from a long line of renowned Haida weavers who taught her traditional methods of weaving basketry and cedar bark clothing. While Telford’s contemporary work pushes the boundaries of traditional art by weaving contemporary clothing items, Preston Singletary (Tlingit), 2016 National Artist Fellow, adds new dimension to Native art with the use of glass to represent traditional Tlingit spruce root basket designs.
Each piece in the exhibition is an expression of the artist’s tradition and identity. The weaving process is a complex artistic endeavor connected to tradition, material, and the land. The Woven exhibition demonstrates how weaving continues to play an essential role in Native life blending art and function in a beautiful display of diverse mixed media.
Woven is the third installment of the IMNDN traveling exhibition, curated by Todd Clark (Wailaki). The NACF was a fiscal sponsor and partner of IMNDN for the first installment of Woven in 2016. IMNDN is dedicated to healing cultural wounds by focusing primarily on contemporary Native art and artists. If you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces on exhibit, please visit the IMNDN website for more information. Woven is currently on exhibit at the Portland International Airport (Concourse DE) through March of 2019.
It was only when I began to experiment with designs from my Tlingit cultural heritage that my work began to take on a new purpose and direction.
~ Preston Singletary
Joe Feddersen (Colville Confederated Tribes)
Gail Tremblay (Onondaga, Mi’kmaq)
Ka’ila Farrell-Smith (Klamath, Modoc)
Lisa Telford (Haida)
Carol Emarthle-Douglas (Northern Arapaho, Seminole)
Pat Courtney Gold (Wasco)
Dan Friday (Lummi)
Joey Lavadour (Walla, Walla)
Bud Lane (Confederated Tribes of Siletz)
Patti Puhn (Squaxin Island)
Preston Singletary (Tlingit)
Loa Bilham’neex Ryan (Tsimshian)
Courtesy of the Portland International Airport
The image of master weaver Fran James (Lummi) is positioned at one end of the Woven exhibition invoking the spirit of and giving thanks to the great weavers of the past. James was known by her Lummi name, Che top ie, but most people simply knew her as Aunt Fran. She shared her life and knowledge with anyone and everyone who wanted to learn. She was a master weaver and taught her craft to the very end of her life. Fran walked on April 28, 2013.