Multimedia exhibit at Ojibwe Cultural demonstrates breadth of Native art

Multimedia artist Darlene Naponse discusses her work ‘Bi Mookseg—Surfacing’ on exhibit at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation during the May 26 opening reception. photo by Michael Erskine

M’CHIGEENG—The Eastern Woodland style of First Nation art pioneered by Norval Morriseau and Daphne Odjig has become so familiar as to almost define the art of the Anishinabe, but modern indigenous art stretches far beyond the edges of a canvas to embrace a wide and expanding world that includes every form of artistic expression, including a vibrant community of digital and performance artists.

Anishinabekwe multimedia artist Darlene Naponse is exhibiting ‘Bi Mookseg—Surfacing’ a multi-layered video presentation featuring film, photography, music and poetry to present contemporary First Nation stories and ideas. In her work, Ms. Naponse explores the relationship between Mother Earth and human activity through filmmaking.

“This work explores the changing landscapes on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (Whitefish Lake First Nation),” she explained, as a young woman on the screen behind her travels from one “reality” of an Anishinabekwe as she journeys from one world to another.

The exhibition was first presented at the Art Gallery of Sudbury between January 15 and February 21 and was curated by Deanna Nebenionquit, curator alternate and collections manager at the Art Gallery of Sudbury.

Both Ms. Naponse and Ms. Nebenionquit grew up on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (Whitefish Lake First Nation) and said they were honored to partner with the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation to present this exhibition.

“I met Anong (Beam, art director) during Cinefest in Sudbury a couple of years ago,” said Ms. Nebenionquit. “We have since made a number of connections through the art world. “We caught up a little while ago and she asked if the OCF could borrow the exhibit. It is part of what we hope will be an ongoing partnership between the OCF and the Art Gallery of Sudbury.”

“We are really happy to be able to share Darlene’s work,” said OCF Art Director Anong Beam, who noted that the OCF is hoping to expand people’s perceptions of modern Anishinabe art and the depth of media it embraces.

Ms. Naponse is an accomplished filmmaker, storyteller, teacher and arts administrator from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (Whitefish Lake First Nation) west of Sudbury. Ms. Naponse actively contributes to the arts community in both Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and Sudbury. Ms. Naponse opened the first film studio, Pine Needle Blankets, in Atikameksheng in 2008. Her works have been featured at Sundance Film Festival and her writing was recently published in ‘Along the 46th,’ a Latitude 46 publication.

Entertainment for the event was provided by Jimmy Sidlar and Anishinabekwe artisan Darlene Bebonang provided a concurrent beading and crafts workshop.