Marvin Oliver

(American | Quinault | Isleta-Pueblo, born 1946, died 2019)

Seattle-based Quinault and Isleta-Pueblo artist Marvin Oliver (1946-2019) was a master carver, sculptor, and printmaker producing works in cedar, bronze, glass, steel, and paper.

Oliver was born in Shelton on southern Puget Sound and worked within the traditions of Northwest Coast designs and themes. He was also an important influence on contemporary Native American art and artists. He described his art as "formulated by merging the spirit of past traditions with those of the present... to create new horizons for the future." Many of his artworks express his ideas and Native American stories about life, time, traditions, ancestors, the universe, and his hope for future generations.

Oliver received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University in 1970 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington in 1973. He was Professor Emeritus of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington and Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Native American Art at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, both in Seattle. In the 1970s, he began a tradition of an annual “Raven’s Feast” dinner at the University of Washington to celebrate the accomplishments of Native American and Alaska Native graduates. He also gifted one of his prints to each graduate. Raven’s Feast has grown into a cornerstone of the UW Native community.