Indigenous art. Indigenous perspectives.

Azhwakwa: Contemporary Anishinaabe Art


Azhwakwa: Contemporary Anishinaabe Art

Neebin Southall

“Anishinaabeg: Who We Are,” Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Rama Chippewa), digital art on paper, 24 × 18 in. Images courtesy of the artists.

The Anishinaabeg are one of the largest collective groups of Indigenous peoples north of the Rio Grande. They include the Three Fire Council—the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi—and the Oji-Cree and Algonquin peoples. Their homelands are centered on the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States, and now with communities as far away as Montana and Oklahoma. and they speak related Algonquian languages.

The United States federal government forcibly removed several Anishinaabeg groups far from their homelands. On this journey, often referred to as the Trail of Death, Potawatomi and Ottawa communities were established leading to the development of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Over time, many other individual Anishinaabe moved from their homelands for family or work. Through moving and changing landscapes these individuals and tribes maintain strong ties with their fellow Anishinaabeg. The artists in this exhibition demonstrate Anishinaabe brilliance, artistic innovation, and address what it means to be Anishinaabe today.

Azhwakwa is a Potawatomi word that translates to “Beyond the Woods.” This exhibition is a celebration of living Anishinaabeg culture in the Southern Plains and explores how visual arts connect diverse Anishinaabe people with their larger shared community and how, no matter where they may live and despite more than a century of assimilation efforts, Anishinaabeg remain Anishinaabeg.

August 22 – October 18, 2020. Opening reception: Saturday, August 22, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Masks must be worn and social distancing maintained on premises. Limited visitors to gallery at a time. Mingling outside.

Dennis Esquivel

“Brilliant Colors of the Dawn,”
Dennis Esquivel
(Grand Traverse Odawa/Ojibwe)
acrylic, acrylic gel medium on burled wood panel, 19 × 12 in.

Featured Artists

  1. Matthew Bearden (Citizen Potawatomi/Kickapoo), painter, Tulsa, OK | link
  2. Kelly Church (Gun Lake Potawatomi/Odawa/Ojibwe), birchbark biter, black ash basket maker, Hopkins, MI | link
  3. Gordon Coons (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe/Ottawa/Potawatomi), fumage artist, painter, printmaker, St. Paul, MN | link
  4. Amber DuBoise-Shepherd (Prairie Potawatomi/Sac & Fox/Diné), painter, Shawnee, OK | link
  5. Nicole Emmons (Citizen Potawatomi), animator, filmmaker, puppeteer, Oklahoma City, OK | link
  6. Dennis Esquivel (Grand Traverse Odawa/Ojibwe), furniture maker, painter, woodworker, Santa Fe, NM | link
  7. Monica Raphael (Grand Traverse Odawa/Ojibwe), beadwork artist, quillwork artist, Apache, OK | link
  8. Cathy Short (Citizen Potawatomi), textile artist, photographer, Santa Fe, NM | link
  9. Christopher Short (Citizen Potawatomi), laser artist, metalsmith, photographer, Santa Fe, NM | link
  10. Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Rama Chippewa), beadwork artist, watercolor painter, Santa Fe, NM | link
  11. Stuart Sampson (Citizen Potawatomi), painter, Edmond, OK | link
  12. Jodi Webster (Prairie Potawatomi/Ho-Chunk), jeweler, draftsperson, Phoenix, AZ | link


Coloring Pages

Curator: America Meredith (Cherokee Nation)
Curatorial assistant: James Bland
Educational materials: Mary Deleary (Deshkan Ziibiing Anishinaabekwe)
Social media and publicity: Staci Golar and Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Rama Chippewa)


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