The Sheehan Gallery and The Maxey Museum at Whitman College, 345 Boyer Ave., will present "Weaving Material Cultures: Use and Symbol," a curator talk at 2 p.m. Saturday, in the Sheehan Gallery in Olin Hall, by cultural anthropologist and ethnographer, Jennifer Karson Engum.
The exhibit features Whitman College's holdings from its Maxey Museum. This impressive Native American basketry collection will be shown concurrently, dispersed among several on campus exhibition venues including the Sheehan Gallery, the Maxey Museum Gallery, and the Penrose Library.
The basketry originates from two Native American culture regions, the Northwest Coast and the Columbia River Plateau. These pieces were collected by the Rev. Myron Eells at the turn of the 20th century while he conducted missionary work among tribal nations in the Pacific Northwest.
Use and symbol are two separate yet married aspects of the woven materials, chosen for this exhibition, which make each piece uniquely grand. A number of different types and styles of basketry will be displayed. Some of these baskets were used for the gathering, storing, and processing of native subsistence foods. While these vessels were utilitarian in nature, they were adorned with symbols and designs that directly emanate from the expressive culture of the communities where they were woven. Other objects, such as the Makah hats, were made to be worn under particular circumstances. This cross-campus display considers the materials and use of the baskets, whether worn or used as household technology, as well as the design and symbolism that went into each piece.
For more information, call 527-5992.