Spotlight on Indigenous Art and Artists: News and Upcoming Events

In this post, we highlight news and events around Indigenous art, artists and storytellers. Included are:

  • June 2 – August 18: “Hearts of Our People,” the Minneapolis Institute of Arts new exhibit of Native women artists
  • Saturday, June 8: Celebratee new public art and gathering space on Bde Maka Ska’s southeast shore
  • Tuesday, June 11: Čhaŋyáta uŋyákuŋpi – We exist in the woods, an event at Roberts Bird Sanctuary
  • Thursday, June 13: “ART IS…Creative Native Resilience”
  • Angela Two Stars appointed new director of All My Relations Gallery

Mia: ‘Hearts of Our People’ Exhibit of Native Women Artists Runs through Aug. 18

Sisseton Dakota table cloth. (Photo courtesy of Mia.)

This Sunday, Mia opened the Hearts of Our People exhibit. Here’s how Mia describes it:

Women have long been the creative force behind Native art. Presented in close cooperation with top Native women artists and scholars, this first major exhibition of artwork by Native women honors the achievements of over 115 artists from the United States and Canada spanning over 1,000 years. Their triumphs—from pottery, textiles, and painting, to photographic portraits, to a gleaming El Camino—show astonishing innovation and technical mastery.

The exhibit also got a nice write up in the Friday New York Times, headlined: The Hand of Native American Women, Visible at Last. It says the exhibit “rests on the premise that the role of women in Native communities has gone widely ignored in the mainstream American art world, and the United States at large.” It continues:

From the beginning, “Hearts of Our People” was intended to bring greater visibility to Native women without compromising their Indigenous values. Organized by Ms. Greeves and Jill Ahlberg Yohe — an associate curator of Native American Art at MIA, and a non-Native — the exhibition has been shepherded along by an all-female advisory panel of 21 Native artists and experts of Indigenous art from across the United States and Canada.

Celebrate New Public Art, Gathering Space, and Our Collective History at Bde Maka Ska, Saturday

You are invited to join in celebrating the completion of the new public art installation and gathering space near the former site of Cloud Man’s Village, one of the many Dakota villages that existed prior to colonization. The event will be Saturday, June 8, 10:30 a.m., on the southeast shore of Bde Maka Ska, (near Richfield Road and West 36th Street,) rain or shine!

The art and gathering space were created to honor Maḣpiya Wic̣aṡṭa  (Cloud Man) and Ḣeyata Ọtunwe (Village to the side). The theme of the art is “Story Awakening” with an intention to honor and educate visitors about the broader history and culture of the Dakota and other Indigenous people who frequented and resided in this area over time.

Artists Mona Smith, Sandy Spieler and Angela Two Stars all contributed to the artwork.

The festivities, hosted by the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, will include music, comments from descendants and the artists, refreshments by The Sioux Chef, and activities for the whole family.

Čhaŋyáta uŋyákuŋpi — We Exist in the Woods, Tuesday, June 11

Join Healing Place Collaborative for an engaging evening grounded in indigenous and Dakota knowledge of the place in and around Bde Maka Ska. Staff at the Roberts Bird Sanctuary will discuss their healing and restoration efforts at the sanctuary and Ethan Neerdaels will lead us in conversation about the meaning of this place for indigenous and Dakota people.

The event will be Tuesday, June 11, 5-7 p.m. at Roberts Bird Sanctuary, 4124 Roseway Road, located between Lake Harriet and Bde Maka Ska. The event includes an outdoor potluck.

ART IS …Creative Native Resilience, Thursday, June 13
In “ART IS…Creative Native Resilience” Marcie Rendon brings together three Anishinaabe artists to perform contemporary artistic works in a showcase of the collective resilience of who we are as a people. Jada Brown sings her heart out. Andrea Fairbanks dances and moves about the lifeforce of our language over attempts to destroy us. Sir Curtis Kirby the III brings his directing skills along with the Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble.
ART IS…Creative Native Resilience will be Thursday, June 13, at 7 pm. at TPT’s Street Space, 172 4th Street East, St. Paul, MN. You can RSVP here and learn more about the ART IS… event series.

More about the artists:

  • Marcie Rendon, citizen of the White Earth Nation, is an author, poet, playwright, curator, and arts activist who supports other native artists/writers/creators to pursue their passions.
  • Andrea Fairbanks, Bagwajikwe of Leech Lake Anishinaabe: mom, multifaceted artist & teacher.
  • Jada Brown, Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe. Earthy soul vocalist & spoken word poet.
  • Sir Curtis Kirby III, Ojibwe/African American, directs the Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble.

Angela Two Stars Tapped to Lead All My Relations Gallery

Angela Two Stars, a visual artist, curator and public artist, was recently appointed as the new director of All My Relations Gallery, 1414 East Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, according to Robert Lilligren, president and CEO of both the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) and the gallery.

Two Stars is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and received her BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI in 2017.

“I am incredibly honored for the opportunity to serve the community as Director of All My Relations Arts,” Two Stars said in a media release. “My connection with All My Relations Arts has progressed as I began my career as a practicing artist in the 3rd installment of On Fertile Ground at All My Relations Arts. I am excited for this next step in my journey. I am committed to furthering the vision of NACDI by increasing the visibility of American Indian art and providing broad access to quality art exhibitions that promote the historical understanding and contemporary strength of American Indian artists.”

Angela Two Stars has continued her involvement with All My Relations Arts as Curator of the powerful show “Bring Her Home: Stolen Daughters of Turtle Island” that raises awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW).


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