I’ve been taking advantage of my city things this past week, last night’s adventure being a trip with friends to the Museum of Anthropology to see the exhibition of Coast Salish blankets that is currently on display. The feature photo on this post are some modern reproductions of much earlier works which are fragile and under glass.
Since reading the book Salish Blankets: Robes of Protection and Transformation, Symbols of Wealth last year, I have come to realize that pretty much everything I have learned about Coast Salish art is wrong. Though to some degree I have been critical of the colonial relationship to indigenous artworks – how Haida art is often passed off as the art of all coastal peoples, how colonial interpretations of First Nations work limited it value as art, how settler people have never learned to see or appreciate the maker and the culture behind the artifacts hung on their walls – I have continued to hold a limited understanding of First Nations cultural and artworks from my bioregion.
For starters, the book and display of Salish blankets have opened my eyes to:
Tomorrow I will be returning to the MOA for a one day workshop on the techniques of Coast Salish weaving. This will snug up against what I have learned about the post-colonial knitting tradition which is inspired by the weaving repertoire but not as diverse owing to the fact that knitting was shaped much more by market forces, and less by internal cultural and artistic needs. I’m looking forward to more learning in this rich textile tradition, and continuing my unlearning of a limited vision for the history of this place.