Most are familiar with Marvel characters such as Daredevil, Black Panther, Black Widow, Hulk, Luke Cage, and Misty Knight, and their stand to serve the greater good. Now Native American comic artist Jeffrey Veregge has reimagined the Marvel characters’ fight against evil with a unique tribal take, borrowing phrases from his tribal language, S’Klallam, as well as tribal motifs.
In an exhibition at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, entitled Jeffrey Veregge: Of Gods and Heroes, Jeffrrey Veregge’s versions of the much-loved Marvel characters ask visitors to think about Salish, part of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State, as the protagonists.
The comic artist is known for his bold blend of the traditional formline style of the Northwest Coast with characters from American pop culture. In addition to his use of S’Klallam language, Jeffrey Veregge also incorporates formline throughout his Marvel reimagined artworks.
Formline – a design concept that dates back more than 2,000 years – uses elongated, slightly flattened ovals and u-shapes with outlines of changing thickness, used in combination to create more elaborate designs. The style is instantly recognizable from paintings, masks and totem poles depicting animals, individuals and objects of significance to the indigenous people of the Northwest Coast.
Jeffrey Veregge said: “For thousands of years, Native and non-Native storytellers have used art as a means to share the tales of their people. For me, I am simply carrying on a tradition that started with my ancestors by using the means of today, and all its modern conveniences, to share the tales that I love. Art evolves, artist tools advance, but the essence of what I do is the same as those who created with the canvases nature provided to tell the stories of gods and heroes long, long ago.”
Jeffrey Veregge: Of Gods and Heroes is on at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York from now until 13 October 2019
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com