Denise Emerson bag

Native American Art at South Puget Sound Community College

by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS

The Native American Art Exhibition at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) features a wide variety of works by regional Native American artists. Look for paintings, basketry, carved wood pieces, textiles and mixed-media art curated by Mandy McCullough. McCullough is an Ojibwa from White Earth, Minnesota, who has created jewelry since she was in grade school. “This is the seventh year I have curated the exhibition. My family works along with me each year,” McCullough says.

She says the highlight of this exhibition is Native American art from several states. The work was produced by new and returning artists, including two college students from Fort Lewis, beadwork by Monica Maes, photography by Kayla Jackson, and baskets by Squaxin elders. Jackson is Navajo. Maes, from Denver, is Southern Ute, Jicarilla and Apache. “She has just started beading and has been excelling at what she does,” says McCullough. “She was Miss Hozhoni contestant for Fort Lewis College last year; she participates in powwow and other cultural activities. Monica is a young person with a huge heart. She stands up for Native Peoples and is a role model for Native youth.”

Skokomish tribal member Denise Emerson will show a beaded bag. “This is my 49th year of beading,” she says. “Right now my bead art is about artistically portraying tribal people captured from a historical viewpoint and bringing them forward in time to show that we are still here. For the beaded body of this bag I used Skokomish historical photographs, concentrating on designing and creating a bag that includes text. Including Skokomish language ‘SqWuqWu’b3sh,’ meaning ‘people of the river,’ and Skokomish symbolism in the foreground and background gives integrity to the existence past, present, and future of the Skokomish people.”

Charles Bloomfield is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe with family lines in the Tsartlip First Nation and Lummi Nation. His sculpture “Circle of Rx Life” is a fish made from 6,500 empty pill capsules and caught with the “lure” of an empty prescription bottle. Bloomfield says, “Some 80 other drugs and personal care products, totaling as much as 97,000 pounds, enter the Puget Sound each year.”

What: Native American art exhibition

Where: Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery,
South Puget Sound Community College,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia

When: noon – 4 p.m., Nov. 1 – Dec. 9;
opening reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4

How much: free

Learn more: 360-596-5527 | SPSCC




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