- By Native News Online Staff
BEMIDJI, Minn. — Blair Treuer is a non-Native woman whose husband and children are Ojibwe, and her new exhibit, “Portraits,” depicts her reflections as a white outsider to the Ojibwe cultural practices and beliefs that shape her Native family’s identity.
Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, Minnesota, hosts Treuer and her first gallery exhibit of “Portraits” at its January 10 opening. It will remain on display through March 28, 2020. Her work, which garnered national attention last year, is a collection of large images constructed with fabrics of different colors, patterns, shapes and sizes sewn together in a quilt-like fashion to create realistic portraits of her family.
She began her love affair with fabric when her children’s participation in an Ojibwe ceremony required her to make blankets as a part of their spiritual offering. She poured everything into their construction all the while teaching herself this new art form. Through this process, she became a “storyteller who paints with fabric and draws with thread.”
In many of her pieces a recurring goldfinch theme is present. The goldfinch is the language bird in Ojibwe culture.
Beyond that, “Self Portrait,” a nude portrait featuring the artist with finches perched on antlers growing from the top of her head, was born from her unique perspective and represents the combination of both despair and hope that she feels as a mother and wife and her purpose in this world.
"Self Portrait" by Blair Treuer
“Self Portrait” received a semi-honorable mention from Art Olympia 2019 in their 3rd Biennial International Open Art Competition in Japan. Meanwhile, “Maddy,” a depiction of family members partaking in the “sugar bush” or tapping of maple trees, received special recognition by Light Space Time’s 9th Annual All Women Online Art Competition.
Watermark Art Center is located at 505 Bemidji Ave. N. Bemidji, Minnesota. The center can be reached at (218) 444-7570 and watermarkartcenter.org. Visit blairtreuer.com for more information.
More Stories Like ThisHere’s What’s Going in Indian Country: Sept. 22-31
‘Reservation Dogs’ Gets Season 3 Renewal from FX
4th Annual Native American Animation Lab Opens Call for Applications
Arts Organization, Museum Debut New Residency Grant for Indigenous Artists
Detroit Lions Rookie Malcolm Rodriguez Joins the Community of Indigenous NFL Players
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.