yəhaw̓ is an open call exhibition celebrating the depth and diversity of Indigenous art made in the Pacific Northwest. All Indigenous creatives living in our region are invited to participate, and everyone who applies will have work included in the exhibition.
The title of the show, yəhaw̓, is drawn from the Coast Salish story of Native people from all tribes uniting around a common cause and lifting up the sky together. In the spirit of the story, this exhibition will be a collective portrait of Native America, including creatives of all ages and stages in their careers, from Urban and Reservation communities, working in contemporary and traditional materials, and in ways that may or may not be widely recognized as Native. And just as, historically, Indigenous makers seamlessly imbued utilitarian objects with spiritual and artistic meaning, we seek to challenge the false divide between craft and fine art, as well as high and low art, by equally valuing all objects as part of our cultural continuum.
The exhibition will also be accompanied by mentorship opportunities to support continued artistic development in the Indigenous community, and we hope that all exhibition participants will gain experience and exposure, and create sustaining relationships.
We are giving up curatorial control through the open call process to empower Native artisans to retake ownership of their representation. By creating an opportunity for the community to speak for itself through a wide range of individual and sometimes conflicting perspectives, we aim to unsettle assumptions and begin a critical new dialogue about what Native American art is and can be. We hope yəhaw̓ will reflect a nuanced, inclusive, and community-driven narrative that firmly establishes Native creatives as belonging in the here and now.
-Tracy Rector (Seminole/Choctaw), Asia Tail (Cherokee Nation), and Satpreet Kahlon
About King Street Station
This show will be held in the newly renovated King Street Station in downtown Seattle. It is only appropriate that the inaugural exhibition in the newly minted community arts space honor and acknowledge the Indigenous communities on whose stolen land the building sits. For more information visit: www.seattle.gov/arts/king-street-station.
About the Curators
Tracy Rector is a mixed race (Choctaw/Seminole) filmmaker, curator, community organizer, co-founder of Longhouse Media and a 2016 Stranger Genius. She has made more than 400 short films, and is currently in production of her fifth feature documentary. As co-producer of the award-winning film Teachings of the Tree People, producer of March Point, co-director of Clearwater, and director of Ch'aak' S'aagi; Rector has developed an awareness and sensitivity to the power of media and film as a modern storytelling tool. After years of galvanizing community and working in a directorial role, Rector has begun to transfer her method of storytelling to gallery exhibitions including RE:DEFINITION at the Paramount Theatre Gallery, YOU ARE ON INDIGENOUS LAND at Core Gallery, Women On the Brink at Vermillion Gallery, and BLOODLINES at Bridge Productions.
Asia Tail is from Tacoma, Washington where she is currently based. Asia attended the Cooper Union School of Art in New York on a four-year full-tuition scholarship and graduated with a BFA and the Brandon Burns Stewart Memorial Prize for Excellence in Painting in 2014. Her work has recently been featured in NW Art Now @ TAM (formerly the Northwest Biennial), in Quota at SOIL Gallery in Seattle, and in the two-person show Moon Moan at 950 Gallery in Tacoma. As an extension of her art making practice, Asia also curates special projects and exhibitions, with an emphasis on empowering Indigenous artists. She is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
Satpreet Kahlon is a multidisciplinary artist who is based in Seattle, WA + Providence, RI. Born in Punjab, India and raised in the Midwest, she is interested in creating visual language and immersive encounters that express and explore intersectional experiences as well as the structural systems of inequity that dictate their boundaries. In addition to her studio practice, which has been featured in Artforum, she curates with a philosophy of embedded equity at The Alice Gallery in Seattle, is the founder of Deep Space Gallery, and, between 2015 and 2017, she designed and taught social engagement programming in partnership with the Seattle Art Museum. She is currently studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received a full fellowship to pursue her MFA in Sculpture.