New exhibit features work of local Tulalip artists

TULALIP — When Jesse Rude was a small child, he couldn’t help but learn art.

Bernie Gobin, a prominent figure on the Tulalip reservation for decades, was a master carver and Rude’s granddad.

When Gobin worked, young Jesse often was by his side.

“He’d say, ‘See that up there? Draw it,’” Rude recalled.

Now 36, Rude has a painting of a giant butterfly titled “Messenger” in a new show of Tulalip artists at the Hibulb Cultural Center museum.

He’s one of a younger generation of artists represented in “Coast Salish Inheritance: Celebrating Artistic Innovation,” which opened at the tribal museum this month and runs through May.

The show includes work from about 35 artists, plus drawings by schoolkids.

In addition to carvings, paintings, weavings, rattles, dolls and jewelry, the show includes music, photos, a video interview with artists, tribal-inspired modern clothing and the children’s drawings. Some of the items are for sale.

The show also has a display of items made by Tulalip artists who have died, including Gobin and early-20th century tribal leader William Shelton.

The spotlight on local artists is a departure from the previous two rotating exhibits of tribal art at the museum since the building opened in 2011.

Those shows featured art from Seattle’s Burke Museum and from the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., Hibulb curator Tessa Campbell said.

Tulalip artists have been carrying on their family traditions all along but haven’t been featured together in a gallery exihibit dedicated to their work, she said.

“It just needed to happen,” Campbell said.

Many of the artists are in their 20s and 30s. Derek Jones, who made the interview video, is 26. Virginia Jones, who has a traditional cedar mat in the show, is 28.

The artists have learned from their elders and other artists. Jones’ mat is next to one made by Joy Lacy, to whom Jones give s credit for helping her learn the craft. Others have been taught by James Madison, who has two tall metal sculptures in the exhibit, “Bear Power” and “Wolf Power.”

The styles range from traditional Northwest coast tribal art to modern art with a tribal twist.

Steven Madison, 43, has a carved mask in the show titled “Raven Stole the Moon From Grandfather.” It’s based on his own family’s version of a Northwest coast tribal legend about raven, the trickster, stealing the sun and moon and putting them in the sky.

Madison’s grandfather mask, however, stands apart from orthodox Northwest coast styles.

“I want my stuff to be different from everyone else’s,” he said. “I like to push the envelope.”

Madison wrote the text for one of several interpretive panels included in the display.

“Art is a living thing, always changing,” he wrote.

Ty Juvinel, 26, has a yellow cedar paddle, titled “Big Bear,” in the exhibit. The dark, subtle outlines of the bear’s face don’t jump out at first look but tend to emerge as if coming out of the woods.

“I like to put movement into my art,” Juvinel said.

By putting his own twist on traditional tribal style, “I can give it a new breath of life.”

Most of the artists have day jobs. Juvinel, for example, works as a graphic designer. Jones works as a secretary at the museum. Rude is assistant manager at the Bernie Kai-Kai Gobin Hatchery on the reservation — named for his grandfather.

Rude has sketched or drawn all his life but hadn’t made a finished, polished work for a while until recently, he said.

The knowledge he gleaned from his elders as a child has stayed with him.

“I’ve been teaching myself what I learned back then,” he said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

Exhibit

Tulalip tribal artists are featured in “Coast Salish Inheritance: Celebrating Artistic Innovation,” which runs through May at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve, 6410 23rd Ave. NE.

The museum is open noon to 5 p.m. weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and is closed Monday. Admission is $10 per adult.

For more information call 360-716-2600 or go to www.hibulbculturalcenter.org.

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