In the past few decades, contemporary Native American artists of the Northwest Coast have made a name for themselves as among the most dynamic and important artists working in North America. Challenging Traditions celebrates this success by presenting the work of forty top living artists whose works highlight the exciting combination of contemporary vitality and traditional roots.For more than a century, Native Americans were actively discouraged from pursuing their traditional cultures by both the church and state, but they persisted in keeping alive their arts and ceremonies. With the rise of cultural and political activism, Native art is now flourishing on an unprecedented scale. Many artists are examining the meaning and purpose of Native American art in the twenty-first century, while following traditions and boldly experimenting with innovative subjects, techniques, and materials.Ian Thom explores these contradictions by describing the career, working methods, and philosophy of each artist, all of whom he interviewed especially for this book. He also discusses at least two significant recent works by each artist.Both senior and younger artists from the Northwest Coast are featured, working in a variety of media and styles: groundbreaking abstract painting and metal sculpture, painstaking woven spruce root hats and ceremonial woolen robes, works in glass, masks, carved panels, painted drums, striking political paintings, "Haida manga," jewelry, carved argillite works, and bentwood boxes.This book is a beautiful, provocative introduction to contemporary Native American art of the Northwest Coast, in the words and works of some of its leading lights. Among the artists and their work are:--Robert Davidson (Haida)--Alano Edzerz (Tahltan)--Preston Singletary (Tlingit)--Dempsey Bob (Tahltan-Tlingit)--Beau Dick (Kwakwaka'wakw)--Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (Coast Salish)--Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Haida)--Shawn Hunt (Heiltsuk)--Jay Simeon (Haida)Ian M. Thom is a senior curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He has organized more than 100 exhibitions, written numerous articles, and authored or co-authored several books, including Andy Warhol: Images; Robert Davidson: Eagle of the Dawn; and Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon.