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Seattle Center Poetry Garden: Beaded Necklace

Asia Tail (Cherokee), Beaded Necklace

October 1, 2019 – January 6, 2020

Photo credit: Asia Tail

In contemporary and historical gathering practices, Indigenous peoples from many tribes, including my own, often leave small gifts behind when harvesting. A buried bead or shell serves as a token of thanks to the land for what has been taken and records the gatherer’s presence on the site. This gifting is often accompanied by song or other sounds of acknowledgement. Jewelry is also gifted in the same way between Indigenous individuals.

My piece at the Poetry Garden embodies the Indigenous spirit of gifting and reciprocal relationship building. The string of beadwork acts as a necklace draped across the landscape, singing a song for the space and surrounding plantings.

By translating common practices from my tribe and local tribes into a temporary art installation on a colonized site, I hope to create an accessible entry point to educate the public about the continued relevance of Indigenous ecological knowledge, while paying homage to the history of the land the center sits on.

Photo credit: Asia Tail

By artist Asia Tail


The Poetry Garden Art Series is a collaboration between Seattle Center and the Office of Arts & Culture. Each year we invite artists to create works specifically designed for our Poetry Garden, asking them to create work that is responsive to the natural environment surrounding the space. Each installation is up for about 3 months. Visit the Poetry Garden often to see the latest work!