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Exhibit: Niiyo-wiij-anishinaabeg (Four Friends)

Image: Joe Geshick (1943-2009), sketch for The Feeding of the Spirit, ink and graphite on paper, 9" x 14", ca. 2000, Geshick Family Collection

Niiyo-wiij-anishinaabeg (Four Friends) A Major Exhibition Featuring Works By Three Prolific Artists George Morrison, Joe Geshick and Carl Gawboy Shown Together for the First Time

The Duluth Art Institute, St. Louis County Historical Society, and Historic Union Depot Corporation are privileged to showcase over fifty pivotal works by three prolific artists, Carl Gawboy, George Morrison, and Joe Geshick. Each has had a profound impact on contemporary art and how each reflects and celebrates Anishinaabe life. Niiyo-wiij-Anishinaabeg (Four Friends) celebrates the individual's journey including the viewer, the fourth friend. As you explore each unique piece, you are invited to reflect on your path as you experience "traveling with friends together" (wiijiiwaagan).

Niiyo-wiij-anishinaabeg is from Anishinaabemowin and is closely translated into “Four Friends.” The four friends include the three artists and a space holder for you, the viewer to become a part of the relationship the artists all have in common, creating art to build community and relationships among humanity.

Niiyo-wiij-anishinaabeg (Four Friends) will include sketches by Joe Geshick and George Morrison as the blueprints for what would become their master works and signature styles. Carl Gawboy will include eight new works on paper that storyboard the artists first major book project, set to be released in Fall 2018. These three prolific Anishinaabe artists have never been shown together before.

Image: Carl Gawboy (born 1942), The River of Souls, watercolor, acrylic, and graphite on paper, 11.75" x 7.75", 2018, Collection of the artist

The three men have a long history together as artists and friends. Their work represents a true shift in contemporary art that forged the pathway for today’s Anishinaabe artists.

A small opening reception will take place on June 29th which will include a ceremony to welcome the art, recognize the land, and thank the artists and their families for bringing together the Anishinaabe community. The opening reception begins at five in conjunction with the Downtown Duluth Art Walk.

You are invited to attend Friday, June 29 5pm-9pm. A closing reception will take place on Tuesday, July 24 6-8 pm to include a larger program with pipe ceremony, feast, speakers, and presentation of gifts in The Great Hall in the Depot 506 West Michigan Street, Duluth, MN 55806.

The exhibition was curated by Jason Pearson, Curator at The Duluth Art Institute.

The Duluth Art Institute is leading this event under the direction of Christina Woods, DAI Executive Director. Please contact Christina Woods with questions at 218-733-7562.

Christina is a member of the Bois Forte (Band of Chippewa) Anishinaabe Nation in Northern Minnesota.

About the Historic Depot:

The Historic Depot sits on Chief Buffalo’s Reservation and that will be acknowledged.

The St. Louis County Historical Society Lake Superior Ojibwe Gallery will be open during the June 29 opening and the July 24th closing reception. The St. Louis County Historical Society will also have on display a rare strap dress that is a part of their collection as well as a few pieces from the artists.

The following is information on the collaborating organizations.

We thank our collaborators and sponsors for helping make this groundbreaking event possible.

Duluth Art Institute

The DAI has a rich history of 111 years of serving a region that is unique in its breadth of cultures. As a port city, mining region, international trade route, and tribal community, communities share a connection through items such as iron, wood, geology, and water. We value art an expression of language and as a place for artists to strengthen their role as crucial partners in the culture of the region.

St. Louis County Historical Society

Since its inception in 1922, the St. Louis County Historical Society has sought to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the history, and prehistory, of St. Louis County as well as the state of Minnesota.

The Historic Union Depot Corporation

The Mission of the Historic Union Depot Corporation is to administer, promote and manage the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center, the Depot, for the benefit of the residents of St. Louis County, our guest/visitors and the Participating Member Organizations.

The information above is courtesy of the Duluth Art Institute.

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