Despite the frigid weather, individuals braved the cold to listen to renowned Ojibwe artist Jim Denomie discuss his artwork Monday night at the Ostrander Auditorium.
Denomie is a painter and multimedia artist. He has a copious amount of achievements under his belt. These include, but are not limited to, being awarded six fellowships and being showcased in 120 group and solo exhibitions.
After being introduced by his impressive accomplishments, Denomie humbly came to the stage and said, “I’ve never been introduced like that. I was even impressed.”
Denomie began the lecture describing his early life. He stated that until the age of four, he lived on a reservation. He was then moved to Chicago, Illinois due to a government relocation program. After his parents divorced, he moved to Minneapolis, where he shortly attended high school.
During the lecture the Ojibwe artist said that he knew from the age of 10 that he wanted to be an artist. Ironically, while in high school he had expressed interest in pursuing art to his guidance counselor and was told that it was a terrible idea. While he dropped out of school at 16 after deciding it wasn’t for him, he did eventually listen to his inner calling. He would later graduate from the University of Minnesota in 1995 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Denomie went through his lecture describing his vision behind his art pieces. He stated he draws from his dreams, and real-life experiences. He always tries to insert a reference in his pieces for what is going on in his life.
Department of Art professor Dana Sikkila stated that she felt Denomie’s pieces are “refreshing in an authentic and honest way.”
The Ojibwe artist explained that his pieces are about natives maintaining cultural identity in modern times.
This is showcased in various ways. In some paintings, Native Americans are hilariously hunting with golf clubs and others they are eating or holding chickens, despite stereotypes that they still only hunt buffalo.
Not only is Denomie’s work infused with humor, but it showcases a variety of dark realities regarding the mistreatment of Native Americans and issues within society.
Denomie also stated he has had multiple residencies in different locations. He elucidates that some of his paintings are darker than others because the “land and spirits” affected his work.
Following the insightful lecture, a reception was held for Denomie’s work. Individuals were able to mingle with Denomie and admire his artwork while also getting a chance to explore the artworks little details that they may have missed during the lecture’s slides.
Feature photo by Nidia Sepulveda | MSU Reporter.