Reviving the “Lost” Art of Eugene Landry

Reviving the “Lost” Art of Eugene Landry

Thirty years after his death, a resilient Shoalwater Bay tribal artist has an exhibit in Astoria side by side with young tribal artists inspired by his example.
by Mike Francis
(originally published in HipFish Monthly, reprinted November 22 by Oregon Arts Watch online.)

 

Why are Eugene Landry’s paintings getting their first exhibition outside his southwest Washington hometown in 50 years, more than three decades after he died?

Landry was a gifted painter in oils and watercolors, and his story of creative persistence against enormous physical challenges would be compelling enough on its own. But the fact that the paintings were produced by a partly paralyzed artist living on a neglected reservation of Indigenous people, at a time when tribes like his fought merely for the right to have their existence recognized, makes the show at Astoria Visual Arts a powerful testament to human and tribal resilience.

Thanks to curator Judith Altruda of Astoria, who still keeps her home in Tokeland, Wash., home to the Shoalwater Bay tribal reservation, visitors to the gallery through Dec. 6 will see a representative sampling of Landry’s work, as well as the work of a new generation of tribal artists. They are filmmakers, photographers, painters, and beadworkers who are heirs to Landry’s tradition of creative expression…

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