The project consists of a curated exhibit of Landry’s art, creating an online gallery, and documenting his art and life with a catalog of images, interviews with tribal elders, and biography.
Eugene Landry (1937-1988) was an artist from the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe in southwest Washington State. He created a large body of work recently discovered in the attic of an unoccupied building where it had been stored for 25 years. Despite decades of exposure to dampness, and cold, much of the collection was salvageable.
Landry’s art and story offer untold history and perspective on challenges faced by Native Americans in Washington State in the mid-twentieth century.
His paintings are post impressionistic time capsules of people and places during a period of great change.
The upcoming exhibit presents a legacy of art by a member of one of the smallest tribes in Washington State. Aside from its beauty, the art-and its inherent stories- offer perspective into the post assimilation issues issues faced by Gene and his tribe- issues of cultural identity, sovereignty and returning to health.
A special feature of the exhibit are interviews with the portrait models who sat for Gene during the 1960’s and 70s. They share stories of the tribe’s struggle for Federal recognition, the effort to gain housing and bring tribal members back to live on the reservation, the creation of programs to record tribal history and language and more.
Newly restored his art can be seen and enjoyed once again. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the art serves as a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit.