Gagizhibaajiwan Exhibition

Photo by Chris Pappan (copyright 2020)

Center for Native Futures Gagizhibaajiwan Exhibition

Jul 1 – Dec 14, 2024


Center for Native Futures
56 W Adams St
Chicago, IL 60603


Donations welcome.

This event is presented by Illinois Humanities grantee Partner Center for native Futures.

Misshepezhieu, the Underwater Panther, lives below the water. Animikii, the Thunderbird, lives in the sky. These two beings live in constant conflict and constant relation, meeting along shorelines and whirling up storms. In Anishinaabe art they are often represented together, suggesting a way to hold duality’s tension. 

How do we reconcile what cannot be reconciled?

In Anishinaabemowin, gagizhibaajiwan (guh-gih-zhi-bah-jih-wun)  is a continuous swirling motion of water portending the Underwater Panther’s emergence from under the surface. The churn mediates earth, water, and sky, implying fluid movement through layers of the world spanned by Misshepezhieu and Animikii. 

Gagizhibaajiwan features four Anishinaabe artists – Marcella Ernest (Gunflint Lake Ojibwe/Bad River Band of Lake Superior), Michael Belmore (Anishinaabe from Lac Seul First Nation), Renee Wasson Dillard (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), and Zoey Wood-Salomon (Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory) – who move through these layers in story and art, evoking Anishinaabe teachings on duality, ambiguity, and balance.

In the depths of sky and swirling water, there is room for paradox.

Gagizhibaajiwan is curated by Lois Taylor Biggs (Cherokee Nation/White Earth Ojibwe) with curatorial mentorship from Kalyn Fay Barnoski (Cherokee Nation/Muscogee). 

This exhibition is generously supported by the Design Museum of Chicago, the Luce Foundation, and Art Design Chicago a Terra Foundation for American Art initiative.

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