Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-8-2017


Cultural imPRINT provides the first substantive art historical investigation into Northwest Coast Indigenous prints. Since the 1960s, Northwest Coast artists have employed the print medium to share their histories, heritage, and culture amongst each other and with the larger world. Because print artists number in the hundreds, and print editions in the thousands, this dissertation takes a socio-cultural approach to understanding the purposes for the medium’s production and circulation. First, it analyzes the deep histories of reproduction in the North American art world and in Northwest Coast Indigenous communities, asserting that reproduction within coastal communities serves to perpetuate history from one generation to the next. Both objects and images are imbued with the authority to carry histories so they may be retold. From this foundational understanding, prints are presented as the cultural ambassadors of the Northwest Coast Native art market. The chapter on the market centers prints to critically reevaluate the larger creation and continuance of a distinctive art world. The final chapter details the biographies of key print artists Robert Davidson, Roy Henry Vickers, Marvin Oliver, and Susan Point. These artists strategically employ the medium to create a social space for themselves and their communities’ arts practices. Their prints educate the public about Northwest Coast Indigenous cultures and insist upon the visibility of Indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest. In observing changes to creation, reproduction, and circulation, the conclusion documents the beginning of a new era for printmaking. Cultural imPRINT surveys the first revolution in the cycle of a vital Northwest Coast arts tradition.



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Joyce Szabo

Second Committee Member

Dr. Kirsten Buick

Third Committee Member

Professor Aaron Fry

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Allan Ryan


Indigenous, Native, Northwest Coast, Prints, art print, reproduction