The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists

SAM’s new mega-show, S’abadeb—The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists, may sound like some kind of dull mandatory history lesson. (Not more masks, totem poles, canoes, and E.S. Curtis photos!) But many of its featured artists are in fact living. Like Lawrence Paul (Yuxwelupton) from Vancouver, B.C., whose 1996 The Impending Nisga’a’ Deal. Last Stand. Chump Change depicts in bold acrylic colors how Canadian governmental authorities—like our own—forced unfair treaties on Indians with little bargaining power. Or Andrea Wilbur-Sigo, who carves traditional motifs onto delicate cedar boxes. Or Matika Wilbur, a young photographer of Swinomish-Tulalip descent who creates vivid color images from the rez. From the Lower Elwha S’Klallam, Roger Fernandes puts the pros and cons of the casino boom into a collage. Though Coast Salish culture—spanning Puget Sound up through B.C.—goes back some 11 millennia, S’abadeb (through Jan. 11) emphasizes that it’s still a vital tradition. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., 654-3121, $7–$13. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Dec. 2-Jan. 11, 2008

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