On April 27, Anishinaabe / Algonquin-Metis artist Leah Yellowbird had her opening reception for “Dimensions.”
Yellowbird’s latest work is cross-dimensional, with 3-D painted animal busts, a 9-foot bear sculpture constituted by pom-poms, a collection of black velvet beadwork designs, and an impressive selection of her signature pointillist paintings. The exhibit was an immersive experience for guests in attendance; Leah’s style has been refined more and more over the last few years, and the focus of this exhibit is the physical contexts of her work, be it through deviation from the canvas or focus on individual characteristics. For instance, having mastered her particular style on its surface, Leah has delved into new territory, adding depth to her already intriguing subject matter through a special focus on painted backgrounds. These backgrounds contrast the images on their surface in new and unexpected ways. She described the process as having been like painting two separate pieces in one - the background and foreground as separate but merged images.
Meanwhile, her elaborate beaded designs draw inspiration from different styles of tribal beading found across Minnesota. Her full-size animal busts (adorned with dot-painted designs) and giant pom-pom bear demanded full attention in an exhibit bursting with color, depth and vibrancy.
Photos by Ivy Vainio.
As is customary with our big events, the Phenomenal Art Exhibition and Awards Ceremony took up a lot of our organizing power and was the largest AICHO event of the month! In continuing a tradition of Duluth “firsts,” the American Indian Community Housing Organization hosted an exhibit last month celebrating artists who identify as women of color. This was the first exhibit to feature only the work of our region’s least represented demographic of artists — Indigenous, Black, Latinx and Asian women. A total of 31 different artists representing a wide range of backgrounds and cultures submitted their work for display in the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center, drawing in a crowd of 300 in an opening reception that took place alongside an award ceremony for some of AICHO’s most influential women leaders. Read more...
We were also featured in the Duluth News Tribune.
Photos by Ivy Vainio.
On April 2, Climate and Cultural Resiliency Coordinator Ivy Vainio and AICHO Children Activities Coordinator Katie Hanson brought two Gimaajii parents, one Gimaajii grandparent, and eleven Youth to Jimmy Northrup’s Sugar Bush (Maple Syrup Harvest) camp on the Fond du Lac Ojibwe Reservation. The session lasted 3 hours and started with Elias, one of the Gimaajii youth, giving Jimmy Northrup and everyone a little bit of asemaa (tobacco) in their hands. Everyone walked about a half a mile through a snow-covered pathway to get to the edge of the woods and to the entrance of the trail that led to the sugar camp.
Once there, Jimmy spoke about the cultural importance of harvesting and how generations of Ojibwe and other northern tribes of Native peoples have harvested maple, basswood and birch sap for food supplies. Then he led everyone on a skinny path to the sugar bush camp nestled into the woods where a tarped stand stood with some chairs, an old large black iron kettle hanging from a makeshift teepee structure, and split wood for the fire lined up on along the side of the clearing.
Cleaned milk cartons hung from tree taps as far as the eye could see. Jimmy said that they tapped over 200 trees. Jimmy shared stories about his family, especially how his dad the late Jim Northrup (Ojibwe author) taught him how to sugar bush and other traditional stories. He took everyone on a walk through the sugar bush and spoke about the various types of trees and Indigenous plants found in the woods there. Once back to the camp, Jimmy showed the kids where a couple of sleds were and then the kids and families spent some time sliding down the hills while others stayed by a fire by the kettle to keep warm. At the end of our time at the camp, Jimmy took out some sacred cedar, sweet grass, and sage and ceremoniously smudged everyone who was there before walking back down the trail to the clearing.
Photos by Ivy Vainio.
Keep tabs on some of the exciting things happening at AICHO! Blog posts managed by our current intern, Roshan Emad-Syring.