Native American art on display in the Gallery Room of the MU

Rua Pokladnik

An exhibit of drawings, paintings, pottery and mixed media artworks made by Native American artists is on display in the Gallery of the Memorial Union until April 2. “Six Worldviews: Contemporary Native Artists of Minnesota,” is being held in conjunction with the 29th Annual Symposium on the American Indian.

Last year, Jim Denomie, artist and member of the Ojibwe nation, had a one-person exhibit in the Memorial Union as part of the symposium.

This year the featured artists include Denomie, Carl Gawboy, Carly Bordeau, Frank Big Bear and Carrie Ortiz, who are all members of various tribes of the Ojibwe nation. Julie Buffalohead, a member of the Ponca tribe, is also among the featured artists.

“Jim Denomie’s autobiographical narrative work continues to grow in his thematic series of expressionistic paintings,” said John Weinkein, professor of art and design.

“Denomie juxtaposes traditional indigenous elements, animals, and the Earth itself with contemporary references from our popular culture. These dream-like images are infused with humor, irony, conflict, decision, and spirituality. Processed through his own experience and imagination, they reflect our own human dilemmas as well as his responses to them.”

Theresa Cannon, program adviser of the arts for the Memorial Union, said that a variety of artwork was included in the exhibit.

“I think the exhibit really highlights the different styles of artwork because there are some that are realistic,” Cannon said. “There are some that are very bright and colorful and more spiritual or dreamlike, and there are others that are very dark. I was really impressed with the variety.”

Weinkein also said that while he believed a great amount of diversity was present in the exhibit, the artists’ Native American Indian background played a part in the creation of their artwork.

“As diverse as the artists and their works are, they all reflect their personal experience as contemporary native people and their differing responses to encounter with the Euro-American world and its impact,” Weinkein added. “All of the works share the artists’ encounter with their world whether psychological, emotional, or physical. Perhaps it may reveal a new or another edge of it to consider.”

In addition to the exhibit, many activities are planned for the symposium.

Tonight at 7 p.m., a panel discussion and gallery talk, in which several of the featured artists will participate, will take place in the Gallery of the Memorial Union.

Tomorrow, Weinkein will host a gallery talk and art exhibit welcome from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Gallery of the Memorial Union. Johnpaul Jones, part of the design firm Jones and Jones in Seattle, will speak at the Richard Thompson Memorial Lecture, “The Four Worlds: Stand Inside our Indian Way and Beliefs,” at 8 p.m. in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union.

On Saturday, a family program, including storytelling and hands on arts and crafts activities will occur between 9 a.m. and noon in the Gallery and rooms 244 and 246 of the Memorial Union. A pow wow, featuring Native American dancers and drum groups, will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Grand Entry of the Memorial Union.