ArtSEA: New art at Sea-Tac awaits Thanksgiving travelers

Native American Heritage Month continues this week, and feels especially relevant with Thanksgiving on the horizon. With the debunking of the holiday’s origin story comes an opportunity for better understanding of not just the historical record, but of contemporary Indigenous culture as well. In an expansive new show at the Frye Art Museum, Canadian First Nations artist Duane Linklater (Omaskêko Cree) explores the complexities of his own Native identity, of being both Indigenous and enmeshed in “settler culture.”

Duane Linklater: mymothersside (through Jan. 16, 2022), is a series of varied installations, some of the most visually striking of which are his “flat sculptures.” These large linen semicircles — emulating the canvas covering on a tepee, a traditional Cree structure — dot the walls like enormous moths, occasionally fluttering onto the floor. Digitally printed and dyed in smoky colors, the fabric is sometimes marked with X’s, recalling the ambiguous signatures Indigenous leaders used to sign treaties. The tepees’ deconstruction, and unusual arrangement, suggests displacement.

I was especially struck by an exhibit of 3D-printed sculptures Linklater created from historical artifacts. His deliberate choice of lower-quality technology resulted in imprecise suggestions of figures like Hopi dolls, totems and masks, thereby emphasizing the generally vague understanding of a lumped-together “Native history.” In a similar fashion, his large-scale prints of computer images of photos of Navajo blankets — several times removed from the original to the framed copy — speak to the erasure, erosion and evolution of culture.

Tomorrow, watch Crosscut for a collection of Native art shows, installations and craft fairs to visit over the Thanksgiving holiday.

You may also like...