Some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's biggest superheroes have been re-envisioned in a new cultural light thanks to Native American artist, Jeffrey Veregge.
Veregge, a member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State, recreated Marvel's finest for his "Of Gods and Men" exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian’s satellite facility in New York City. The work is influenced by his indigenous roots, which showcase the heroes rendered in his culture's signature formline style of murals -- which impressed Hulk actor, Mark Ruffalo.
“My ancestors, and other storytellers across the globe before me shared the tales that were relevant to them," Veregge said. “They would take the time to put them down on whatever materials that they had access to, be it cave walls, papyrus or hand shaped cedar. Basically, I do the same using the materials that are available to me -- in this case, a computer and Adobe Illustrator -- sharing the stories that made me who I am and represent a strong part of my personality and core beliefs."
The collection illustrates how Veregge mixes contemporary pop culture and the formline technique, which was a practice developed by Indigenous people of Alaska and the Pacific Northwestern coast. The Sealaska Heritage Institute defines formline design by its use of interconnected positive space elements, which artists traditionally used to render folklore, tribal crests and other key cultural markers of their identities.
Veregge's exhibit features superheroes of color like Black Panther and Red Wolf, alongside white characters such as Thor and Daredevil to reflect the diversity of his audience. “I wanted every child who went in there to be able to see someone and say, ‘they’re from where I’m from,'" he added, noting that he also went on to add the Muslim Captain Marvel, Kamala Khan.