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Roger Fernandes's Sleeping Spirits Awaken (2001), acrylic on canvas, 30 by 40 inches

It took Seattle Art Museum eight years to put together its current exhibition of Salish art—the art of the native people of this region—and SAM's show, amazingly, is the first major museum exhibition ever devoted to the work and culture of the Salish.

Why has Salish culture been so lost for so long? What is it really about, and how does the SAM show succeed and fail in presenting it?

Salish artist Roger Fernandes—who grew up in an apartment on Capitol Hill but in a close Klallam family (the Klallam are from the Port Angeles area)—talks about his own search for his artistic heritage, and why he deliberately makes art that his ancestors would recognize.

(For my review of the SAM show, click here.)