Antecedents, 2020

RYAN! Feddersen
(American | Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Okanogan and Arrow Lakes Bands, born 1984)

Location: University of Washington, Seattle


Antecedents by artist RYAN! Feddersen (Okanogan and Arrow Lakes) illuminates the living world whose health is deeply connected to our own. It reminds us of our weakness and our relationship within the larger kinship of life. The five lightboxes blend inspirations from science, Indigenous Plateau origin stories, and our relationships with the world around us. Antecedents also references the history of testing processes by using x-ray imagery and turning the medical lightbox into an art frame.

Each of the five lightboxes references the world before humankind. Feddersen notes, “Before the two-legged people, there were four-legged people, people of the sky, people of the water, and people of the land. Each possessed what was needed to survive in their environment. But when two-legged people came into being, we could not survive on our own. We were vulnerable, and so we became the children of all the peoples before us. The four-legged people shared the warmth of their furs and their meat as sustenance. The people of the sky shared the knowledge of tool making. The people of the water shared the life-giving bounty of the rivers, lakes, and oceans. The people of the land shared their plant bodies for sustenance and medicine. Through their sacrifice and parentage, we are able to thrive. When diagnosing our struggles for equitable health and vitality as a human community, we must also look to the pillars of life that support us.”

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with University of Washington.


RYAN! Feddersen (Okanogan and Arrow Lakes) creates site-specific installations, public artworks, murals, and more. She wants her artworks to start conversations about a broad range of subjects, by offering opportunities for interaction and self-examination. She does this by using historical research, digital tools, and traditional Indigenous Plateau storytelling applied to contemporary issues.
Feddersen grew up in Wenatchee, Central Washington as a part of a creative family with multiple cultural perspectives. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 2009 and also studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, from the Okanogan and Arrow Lakes bands, and of mixed European decent.

MediumDye sublimated image film, tempered glass, stainless steel, LED lights
DimensionsFive panels: 6 ft x 29 ft x 4 in (overall, approximately), 6 ft x 4 ft 6 in x 4 in each
ID NumberWSAC2019.027.00A-E
Acquisition MethodSite responsive commission
Artist LocationWashington
Location Information
AgencyUniversity of Washington
Artwork LocationUniversity of Washington
Hans Rosling Population Health building (HRC), East entrance, 3980 15th Ave. NE
WA CountyKing
Site TypeUniversity
Address15th Ave. NE, between NE Pacific St. and NE 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98195
Geo. Coordinates47.654705, -122.311584
Before VisitingSome artworks may be located in areas not accessible to the general public (especially in K-12 public schools). Consider contacting the site prior to a visit to ensure access.