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Portraits: An Identity Exploration
November 3, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, repeating until December 1, 2022
An event every week that begins at 1:00 pm on Saturday, repeating until December 1, 2022
The Northwest Arts Center presents ‘Portraits: An Identity Exploration,’ an exhibition by Minnesota textile artist Blair Treuer, on view in the Northwest Arts Center’s Walter Piehl Gallery from November 3 to December 1.
Blair Treuer is a self-taught textile artist and storyteller from rural Minnesota. Her introduction to textile arts began with the creation of ceremonial blankets that were a part of her children’s spiritual offering for their traditional Native American ceremonies. Being a creative person, Treuer didn’t want to settle for the typical square, geometric pattern of formal quilting. She instead stitched, heart and soul, beautiful pictorial blankets depicting each of her children’s Ojibwe names which were gifted to them at birth. As a white Scandinavian mother to Indigenous children, these ceremonial blankets were the only way for her to contribute to her children’s spiritual and cultural journey.
After a decade of creating ceremonial quilts, Treuer transitioned to creating a series of textiles—wall-hanging portraits depicting each member of her family. As the only non-Indigenous person in her Indigenous family, the portraits are her reflections as an outsider and depict what she sees. They explore intimate parts of their life and center on a juxtaposition between her white culture and her husband’s traditional Ojibwe culture. Treuer’s husband, Dr. Anton Treuer, is an Ojibew educator, culture-bearer, spiritual leader and activist for his community. The artist explains that her husband’s work and way of life has influenced her own artwork and expanded her personal view.
“Being exposed to his work was like turning on a light bulb or my ‘third eye’ being opened…I stand fixed on the outside of the culture and spiritual experiences of my husband and children, but privileged enough to look in. It’s not simply about the pieces of Ojibwe culture I’ve been allowed to see, but instead what it’s allowed me to see within myself, and even to recognize what cannot be found there.”
Learn more about Treuer and her process at: https://www.blairtreuer.com/
A reception with the artist is scheduled for Thursday, November 3 from 6:30-8 p.m. Artist talk to begin at 7. Masks are not required, but individuals who are not fully vaccinated or deemed vulnerable are encouraged to continue to wear masks.
Treuer will also be presenting in the Art Seminar Speaker Series on Friday, November 4 at 12 noon in Memorial Hall, Room 114.
The Walter Piehl Gallery is located in the Northwest Arts Center on the lower level of the Gordon B. Olson Library, with its own entrance on the south side of the library. It is open TWThF, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m. and by special arrangement. It is closed holidays.
This project is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.