Accompanies an exhibition held at Seattle Art Museum, Oct. 24, 2008-Jan. 11, 2009, at the Heard Museum, Feb. 21-Aug. 16, 2009, and at the Royal British Columbia Museum, Nov. 20, 2009-March 8, 2010.
S’abadeb — The Gifts captures the essence of Coast Salish culture through its artistry, oral traditions, and history. Developed in conjunction with the first extensive exhibition of art and culture of the Coast Salish peoples of Washington State and British Columbia, the book traces the historic, cultural, and social context of Salish art from prehistory to the present. Sculpture in wood, stone, and bone — including monumental house posts — as well as expertly crafted basketry, woven regalia, and works in glass, print media, and painting, showcase a sweeping artistic tradition and its contemporary vibrant manifestations.
S’abadeb is the Lushootseed term for “gifts” and invokes a principle at the heart of Salish culture: reciprocity, in both the public and private domains. This richly symbolic word expresses the importance of giving and receiving gifts, tangible and intangible, including names, songs, spirit powers, and the bestowal of artistic gifts at feasts and potlatches. Ritual acknowledgment also includes gifts of food and natural resources, as well as the important role of leaders, elders, and artists in passing vital cultural traditions to the next generations. The theme of s’abadeb and practices of reciprocal exchange in Salish society are illuminated here through the intersection of art with ceremony, oral traditions, the land, and contemporary realities.
Barbara Brotherton is curator of Native American art at the Seattle Art Museum. Other contributors are Crisca Bierwert, Steven C. Brown, Sharon Fortney, Vi taqwseblu Hilbert, Michael Kew, Carolyn J. Marr, Gerald Bruce subiyay Miller, Jay Miller, Astrida Blukis Onat, D. Michael CHiXapkaid Pavel, Qwalsius Shaun Peterson, Susan Point, Wayne Suttles, and Ellen White Kwulasulwut
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