The yəhaw exhibition in Seattle highlights the original cultural stories that knitted the early native Americans together. Curated by Satpreet Kahlo, Asia Tail of the Cherokee, and Tracy Rector who shares heritage with the Choctaw and Seminole peoples, the array of exhibits brings indigenous culture together and makes it part of everyone's story.
A local legend from historical times speaks of the local tribes-people united under a common cause, to lift the sky. What symbolism this entails is perhaps up to speculation, however before scientific knowledge of the cosmos, any number of possible scenarios as to the origin of our sky and sunshine could have arisen. The spirit of the story still rings true today, where it's clear that in order to achieve the seemingly impossible, we have to put our differences to one side and all work together.
Held at Seattle's King Street Station, naturally a wealth of people from all walks of life will be enriched by the presence of this holding of art and its higher message. When we catch a train or stand and wait for someone to get off of theirs, everything stops for us but that one thing. We stop thinking about everything other than what we have to do in this moment. There are many times in life when this has to be done, for the benefit of everyone involved. Perhaps we can learn about co-operation from this ancient tale.
As the station was undergoing redevelopment, to match the requirements of the 21st century, the exhibit curators spoke extensively and directly with the regeneration team. The final output has made perfect use of the given space and the direction of flow that people naturally take. Over this last summer, works from a huge variety of indigenous people have been showcased for all to see. With over 200 individual contributors of which more than half were women, a real representative array of creativity has been amassed.
Perhaps the most inspiring element of the show isn't the individual pieces, but the way in which they have been displayed. Instead of grouping similar genetic origins with historical timelines, the theme, colouring, and energy of each piece has been valued as the defining subject. This expressive quality has been what allowed the curators to group similar works together in order to form an artistic journey rather than a historical one.
Via Non Profit Quarterly