Mezinibii'igejig Wenjibaawaad Odaawaa Zaaga'iganiing: Artists Who Come from Lac Courte Oreilles

Ojibwe art

A new exhibit at the Cargill Gallery features stories and clan relationships of the Lac Courte Oreilles people, one band of the Ojibwe nation, who reside throughout the Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast. With a focus on the Woodlands style, artists create visual representations of Ojibwe cultural knowledge.

Visit the exhibition at the Cargill Gallery, located on the second floor of Minneapolis Central Library, from October 6 – November 27, 2022.

The Treaty of 1854 established the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation on land that is a part of the vast territory the Lac Courte Oreilles people had occupied for hundreds of years. The land is covered in forests and lakes contributing to the style of art seen in this exhibition, known as Woodlands Art.

The Ojibwe Woodlands Art style is created from the combination of Ojibwe petroglyphs (drawings or carvings on rocks) and images from birch bark scrolls. The images can also be identified as X-ray vision. The artist usually paints images with a heavy black outline and paints what is felt or perceived inside animals or people. What is painted inside represents a kind of spirit, a source of powers. 

Norval Morrisseau, an Ojibwe Canadian artist from the Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation, is the founder of the Woodlands Art style. He learned about his Ojibwe culture through his grandparents and Ojibwe community while a child, and as a young man gathered oral histories from his community. He developed the Woodlands Art style by using painting as an extension and visual representation of this knowledge.

In addition to an opening event on October 8, the public is invited to a reception with artists on Saturday, November 12.

Contributing artists: James Autio, Sylvia Bracklin, Nicole Carley, Gordon Coons, Tim Coons, Cynthia Kirk, Jerry Kirk, Kelly Martinson, Ramona Morrow, George Perry, Cleo White and Dennis White.