Two Worlds Rattle, 2023 by Greg A. Robinson, Chinook yellow cedar, abalone inlay, antique trade beads (rattle)
18” high x 5” wide x 2” deep
This rattle depicts our two worlds: the world we know and live in and the supernatural world that surrounds us. Along the top of the rattle is a water serpent running all the way down into the handle. IN the center of the handle is an ancestor, and below him the People of the River (The Chinook) overlapping each other, representing the multiple generations. Amongst the People is Bear and another Water Serpent. The face of the rattle depicts supernatural figures and supernatural powers. Look into the eyes of the moon, on one side the supernatural people are peeking out into our world, on the other side, the Water Serpent is in the spiritual world and represents gambling power. The artist has worked over 80 hours to create this incredible rattle.
Greg A. Robinson, born in 1957, is a member of the Chinook Indian Nation located in Bay Center, Washington. Primarily self taught, Robinson has been an artist since childhood, with an early fascination for wildlife and tribal art after receiving a small carved canoe as a gift. He sold his first work of art in junior high school.
Robinson produces a variety of work in the style of the Chinookan peoples of the middle to lower Columbia River and Willapa Bay. His sculptural work is primarily in cedar wood, large stone, and bone. He draws inspiration and technical knowledge from the study of ancient works in various private and museum collections. His paintings are contemporary interpretations of ancient story lines, and are informed by the spiritual and shamanic aspects of his culture.
All of his work is a tribute to the Columbia River ancestors, to whom art, life, stories, and culture were inseparable. Through his art and instruction, he hopes to inspire future generations of Chinookan artisans.
In the Fall of 2003, construction began on a full scale traditional plankhouse at the archeological site of Cathlapotle, a settlement of the Chinookan people located in the present day Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Robinson was the acting construction manager and tribal liaison for the project, overseeing the preparation of the red cedar logs and advocating for the traditional aspects of the house. He received the Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award in 2005 for his involvement in the project.
In addition to creating art, Robinson works with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde as an instructor for the Lifeways cultural program teaching a variety of carving, painting, and design, as well as outdoor curriculums including the gathering of native food and plants for healing, eating, and the creation of traditional basketry.
Robinson’s work can be found in both public and private collections including the Portland Art Museum, Multnomah County’s Central Court House, and The Regional Arts and Culture Council Portable Works Collection. As well, you can view Robinson’s outdoorpublic art commissions at the Multnomah Falls National Scenic Park, at both ends of TriMet’s Tilikum Crossing, and The Japanese Garden in Oregon.