In the Spirit of the Ancestors celebrates the vitality of contemporary Pacific Northwest Coast art by showcasing a selection of objects from the Burke Museum's collection of more than 2,400 late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century Native American works.
Essays focus on contemporary art while exploring the important historical precedents on which so many artists rely for training and inspiration. Margaret Blackman reflects on building one of the largest collections of Northwest Coast serigraphs, and Joe David reminisces about his artistic journey through mask-making. Shaun Peterson, Lisa Telford, and Evelyn Vanderhoop discuss the historical precedents for working in styles that were kept alive only by a few critical artists and are now making a comeback. Robin K. Wright explores the history of box drums and their revival. Emily Moore discusses the repatriation of two stolen house posts and proposes a new concept of "propatriation" to describe the resulting commissioning of contemporary posts to take their place. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse explores the power of adornment and how clothing, jewelry, and personal adornments like tattooing express tribal and personal identity in ways both connected to the past and grounded in the present.
The diversity of approaches presented by these contributors speaks to artists, collectors, academics, tribal communities, and all those interested in Pacific Northwest Coast art. Splendid color photographs of works never before published will delight everyone.
Robin K. Wright is curator of Native American art at the Burke Museum, director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art, and professor of art history at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of Northern Haida Master Carvers. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse is assistant director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art.