Artists Malynn Foster, Tamela LaClair and Kimberly Deriana, are working as a team - MTK Matriarchs on the Overlook Walk site. The artists, who represent both local tribes and Urban Natives, are developing a permanent artwork that will help to elevate the importance of Indigenous culture and history to the site.
We hope to create a piece that welcomes people into the heart of our culture. In the spirit of honoring the teachings of our ancestors, we want to honor the matriarchs, the weavers and carvers who kept our traditions, teachings and technologies alive and have provided resiliency to our future generations. We strive to highlight our relationship to all beings, how we are all connected and most importantly, that all life is sacred.
The first home for any human being, in the woman's womb, is water. We are closely connected to the impacts we see on the land and water. As matriarchs, we create life within our own bodies and we want to protect our homelands and future generations, because we have an inherent, innate connection to the creation of life. It’s the grandmother, mothers, caretakers, nurturers in our nation who are carrying forward our societal roles, as protectors for our children and the land.
Our project encompasses the web of life, honoring the weaver’s traditions in the form of a Coast Salish open cross-warped twined weaving sculpture (a clam basket). Each strand standing is not in front nor behind the next one, all are equal. Each strand of a basket stands side by side pulling together, forming a stronger tighter presence. The top of the sculpture will incorporate a hands and fingers design. This represents the most important tool to a weaver, their hands and the 10 weavers it takes to weave one basket. We can only weave because of all the knowledge that has been passed forward from one weaver to another.
Experiential, representation of our culture at the foot beds of the artwork will engage viewers in all directions and provide deeped symbolism for storytelling . Loom archways at the east and west axis points will welcome and immerse the viewers into a perspective of our culture, tradition and way of life. We are all connected in the sacred healing circle of life.
This artwork will be located on the lower level of this new pedestrian bridge in a location known as the Salish Steps, which connects the lower portion of Overlook Walk to the promenade. These amphitheater-style steps not only provide access to the new waterfront and views of Elliott Bay, but they also provide a space for entertainment and community activities.
"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together… All things connect."
– Chief Seattle