Print Method: Giclée
Released: January 2020
In the mid 1980’s, I became a Seattle Seahawks fan. Being the closest NFL team to my hometown, it seemed like it would be a good match. Truth be told, I think I was just as drawn to the logo on the sides of the helmets as I was to their geographic location. It was pretty evident that this logo was inspired by Northwest Coast art, but I don’t recall anyone ever speculating on its origins back then.
With interest in the team growing to record heights in recent years, Robin Wright, former curator of Native American art at the Burke Museum started to inquire about the logo’s history. Professor Emeritus Bill Holm pulled out Robert Bruce Inveriarty’s 1950 publication “Art of the Northwest Coast Indians” and flipped to a page bearing the profile view of a Kwakwaka’wakw transformation mask. On seeing this, it was readily apparent that the mask inspired the creation of the logo.
Seeing this on Facebook got me very excited. I thought back to all those times looking at the logo—drawn to it. The fact that an object from our culture most definitely formed the basis of the original logo made me almost feel proud. It also brought up a lot of questions, too. Questions around appropriation and territorial recognition. Like our brothers and sisters to the south, I thought it was important to go a step further and create my own renditions: ones created by a Kwakwaka’wakw-Salish artist and inspired by a Kwakwaka’wakw mask on southern Salish lands.
The Burke Museum ultimately found out where the mask ended up and was able to make arrangements to borrow it for a short period of time. During the unveiling, I was asked to come down and speak on its behalf. Instead of just speaking on the mask, I thought it was integral that we sing and dance for it to let it “hear” our songs once again. So we did. In all likelihood, I was the first Kwakwaka’wakw to dance around the Vince Lombardi trophy…. This is my third print in the series.