Artists from as far away as the Sepik River of New Guinea and as near as Puget Sound honor the creatures, spirits, and people who inhabit the waterways of the Pacific. These waterways are also “highways” which require special skills of navigation. Among certain cultures, art can add a protective force or “a technology of enchantment.” Look for the Trobriand Islanders’ canoe prow, which has been worn away by saltwater, after many years of warding off danger for those who travelled vast distances.
Today, canoes continue to traverse the waters of the Pacific highway. A Tlingit and a Maori artist—Preston Singletary and Lewis Tamihana Gardiner—have worked together in glass and jade to create a striking canoe/waka sculpture that merges two distinctive traditions. Poignant documentation of local canoe journeys is ready for viewing in the nearby alcove, and the watery domains of Australia take on new meanings in Billabong Dreams, on display in the adjacent gallery.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website