(1935 – Present, Coast Salish)
Dennis Allen was born in Shelton, Washington in 1935 to William Allen and Rosie Pulsifer. His grandfather, Henry Allen, was one of the last carvers on the Skokomish Reservation. Dennis has spent much of his life on the Reservation, first living with his aunt after the untimely death of his mother, and then later acting as a caregiver and provider to his grandmother.
Dennis was exposed to his cultural traditions at an early age, learning how to weave baskets, prepare traditional foods, and gather traditional medicines. He also learned how to build canoes using steamed bentwood techniques. However, it was not until relatively late in life that Dennis decided to become an artist. Inspired by his son, Andy Wilbur, Dennis left his job as a logger and fisherman and began carving and painting full-time. Today Dennis’ carvings have found an audience in galleries across North America, and he continues to carve as a means of connecting to his Coast Salish roots.