What a way to bring in the new year! By installing our newest Indigenous themed mural on our business building at 2301 W. Superior Street. This mural was painted and designed by Red Lake Nation artist Jonathan Thunder in collaboration with Sarah Brokke Erickson, Paul LaJeunesse, AICHO, College of St. Scholastica students and Gimaajii families who helped paint the mural this past summer.
The artist statement:
"When burned for healing or ritual purposes, the smoke from braided sweetgrass is thought to attract good spirits and positive energies. It is used as a smudging tool to purify people’s auras, cleanse objects, and clear ceremonial areas or healing spaces of negative energy. When I was asked to create the design for this mural I was given the idea for the sweetgrass braid by the staff at AICHO. They mentioned it was a good metaphor for AICHO’s 3 main focuses in the pursuit of cultural resilience: housing, culture and indigenous food systems.
In the image you see a figure known in Ojibwe stories as “Deer Woman”. This figure has taken on the role of symbolizing strength to Indigenous Women in books and artworks produced by contemporary artists in our community. Deer woman sings to a little yellow bird, a Goldfinch - the spirit of the Anishinaabe language.Through this element of identity, strength and knowledge of one’s self can be obtained. Meanwhile, corn and squash are two of the many natural foods used in Indigenous cooking. Food is medicine and another means through which, through gardening and youth empowerment, AICHO has been revitalizing Indigenous culture."
This building is one of AICHO's buildings under development which currently hosts gallery/gift shop community pop-ups on Saturdays and a wash & fold laundry.
Chi miigwech to Jonathan Thunder and everyone in making this mural and Indigenous representation possible.
Installation: Lakehead Signs
Photos by Scott Thompson