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Totem Pole by James Bender at Pike Place Market (#72: 15046 bytes)

Northwest Coast Art

Art patrons around the world admire and study traditional Native American art of the Northwest Coast Indians. Its inherent power, sophistication, and integrity captivate a wide audience. The art form developed its power and sophistication over many thousands of years in the New World.
This remarkable art, guided by a rich mythology, takes us to a shadowy realm. In this realm the distinctions between humans and animals, natural and supernatural are obscured. Beings such as the creator-trickster raven could transform themselves back and forth from animal to human form. The art expresses dynamic imagery in a style as rhythmic and flowing as it is complex. No wonder it was so appealing to 20th-century European Cubists and Surrealists!
Historically, family crests and images of mythical creatures of legend embellished Northwest Coast Indian household items and ceremonial possessions. These renderings often declared the owner’s lineage, wealth and status. The re-emergence of these old themes in contemporary art shows that the cultural tradition continues to flourish. Today, Pacific Northwest Coast art is finding a growing, enthusiastic, and appreciative audience around the world.
Unless otherwise noted, all images and text are:
2009 Chief Seattle Arts
Last modified: November 09, 2014