Seattle Convention Center features Indigenous art

As part of an ongoing Seattle program, indigenous art is being installed at the new convention center to greet guests as they enter the remodeled space.

SEATTLE — New artwork will be featured in the Seattle Convention Center opening Wednesday.

Five female Indigenous artists were chosen back in 2019 to create the artwork that would decorate the entryways of the new convention center.

Malynn Foster is an Indigenous artist who creates Salish carvings. Foster has several carvings being installed at the convention center, two of which will greet visitors at the Ninth Avenue entrance.

“The truth is, is that whenever it comes to public arts, if opportunities aren’t given to Native artists about our own work, our own lived experience, our own cultural belief systems, and only Native-inspired arts are created and placed in these lands,” said Foster. “It creates a false narrative of who we are.”

This project at the newly remodeled convention center is part of a larger effort to include more authentic indigenous art in public spaces around the city. Thanks to advocacy from local arts groups and an increase in awareness of Indigenous history, Indigenous artwork will hopefully soon be a common sight in and around Seattle.

Andrea Wilbur Sigo, who was recently commissioned by the Chief Seattle Club, has two Coast Salish carvings being installed downtown later this year.

Foster was chosen for the Seattle waterfront project and expects to have a sculpture installed in 2024.

In conjunction with the recent project, local art groups are creating a roster of indigenous artists with the goal of taking steps to decolonize the artist selection process for future commissioned public works.

“It’s really important that we’re telling our own stories,” said Foster. “And that’s what our artwork is our own stories, either where we’ve been, where we hope to be. Our original teachings, what we hope to leave for our great great grandchildren, those stories.”