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Prepare to be delighted and overwhelmed! As you enter the huge exhibition of contemporary Indigenous art on view at the new art space ARTS at King Street Station, the first work you see is an accumulation of objects hanging over the front desk by Catherine Cross Uehara (Uchinanchu/Hapa/Okinaway American) “between you & me & the Ancestors...” It includes photographs of her ancestors, a wedding dress kimono, memorabilia and much more.

Turn around and on the opposite wall is an archival film of the famous Vi Hilbert, (Upper Skagit) who singlehandedly saved the Lushootseed language from extinction, encouraging a community audience to “lift the sky” together. In her telling: “The Creator has left the sky too low. We are going to have to do something about it, and how can we do that when we do not have a common language? ...We can all learn one word, that is all we need. That word is yəhaw̓—that means to proceed, to go forward, to do it.”

So, go forward and plunge into the exhibition of 200 artists from 100 tribes. The curators, Asia Tail (Cherokee), Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole) and Sapreet Kahlon, accepted all indigenous submissions. They include children and elders, professional artists and beginners, all media from traditional cedar, bead work and dolls to digital and audio. We see sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, text, cartoons, games, performance, skateboard, maps. There are all styles from realism to surrealism, to abstraction, to traditional, but mainly there are many mixes as well as approaches that need new names, rather than these tired Euro-American terms.

To enjoy the exhibition simply embrace its mind-expanding diversity, then immerse yourself in one wall at a time, each a compact exhibition. But the exhibition works as a whole as well. Large paintings and sculpture of all sizes animate the large space. Gaps between the walls allow a view through to another part of the exhibition.