Spotlight On: The Giant Pacific Octopus
The octopus also has a rich history of being rendered as a character and spirit helper among the indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest. In this online-only exhibit we’re highlighting some of the creative ways in which our contemporary artists honor this intelligent, fascinating creature.
“The Octopus is a remarkable, unique, eight armed sea creature. The final spirit helper – its transformative nature is represented by its natural ability to incorporate its body into its surroundings and its means of capturing and devouring its prey. It has the ability to change colour, shape and even texture, as well as to eject dark ink in self-defense. It constructs its dwelling place by moving rocks and pebbles, it examines its environment, collects food and defends itself by raising its arms and seems to use its large eyes for intelligent observation. The natural behavior suggests both supernatural and human connections. Octopus is common in shamanic art, undoubtedly because of its amazing transformational abilities.”
-Excerpt from Understanding Northwest Coast Native Art by Cheryl Shearar
Reflections of Our Ancestors: Dan Friday & Lillian Pitt Collaborative Exhibition
Artists Lillian Pitt (Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama) and Dan Friday (Lummi) debut works in glass which were made collaboratively at a multi-day blow earlier in 2018. These are primarily basket or vessel forms that were blown and fused by Dan Friday under the direction of honored elder artist Lillian Pitt. Dan brought over twenty years of glassblowing experience, and Lillian brought the aluminum stencils based on Columbia River and Plateau designs that would be incorporated into each piece. The imagery on this new series of blown and fused glass baskets was directly inspired from two sources: twined imagery on traditional Wasco Sally bags, and the ancient pictographs and petroglyphs carved on rock walls in the Columbia River Gorge. By the end of the process the two had fused their concepts and vision together into a brand new series of rich, vibrantly colored vessel that reflect time-honored images from the artists’ ancestors.