was a center for contemporary art in Southeast Portland, Oregon. It was led by a desire to support artists, propose new modes of production, and stimulate the ongoing public discourse around art. This website serves as an archive of Yale Union’s programming from 2011 through 2021.

Yale Union acknowledges that it occupies the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Chinook, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla, and other Indigenous peoples.


A Feast of Light and Shadows

June 30–August 29, 2021
Wed and Thu 4–8pm; Fri, Sat, and Sun 2–6pm

For the artist’s first solo exhibition in Portland, she creates a new site-specific installation that transforms Yale Union’s gallery space into a Feast of Light and Shadows.

Marianne Nicolson (b. 1969, British Columbia) is an artist-activist of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations, part of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwak’wala speaking peoples) of the Pacific Northwest Coast. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver, BC), a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria (BC), as well as a Master of Arts in Linguistics and Anthropology and a PhD in Linguistics and Anthropology with a focus on space as expressed in the Kwak’wala language. As a First Nations artist, Nicolson works to bring poetry and beauty to highlight some of the most troubling issues of our time around colonization, dispossession, land rights, and cultural genocide. Trained in both traditional Kwakwaka’wakw forms and contemporary gallery- and museum-based practice, Nicolson centers the preservation of Indigenous cultural knowledge but presented in contemporary media, inviting access to First Nations traditional craft and public discourse around the importance of Indigenous autonomy. Her artwork acknowledges the colonial dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands and traditions, while celebrating the re-emergence and empowerment of Indigenous voices.

Curated by Hope Svenson

We are grateful for financial support for this exhibition from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. The exhibition would not be possible without the donation of gallery space by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Photography by Leif Anderson, 2021

Marianne Nicolson in conversation with curator Hope Svenson



Click HERE for an informative interview with Marianne Nicolson published in 2016.

 Click HERE to read Nicolson’s PhD thesis, completed in 2013.