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January 7 – March 24
Artist Reception: February 1 | 5 – 7 p.m., Artist Talk at 6

This exhibit features the photography of Joseph Allen (Rosebud Sioux), Manidoikwe Devlin (St. Croix Nation), David Manuel (Red Lake Nation), and E. Jourdain Jr (Red Lake Nation). These images celebrate the diversity and importance of land to Indigenous communities.

Plus: We are inviting photographers everywhere to submit work for this exhibit. Enter via social media, where our juror will select pieces to be part of an evolving collage on one wall of the exhibit. Post your submission to your personal Instagram or Facebook page using the hashtags: #OnNativeLand #WatermarkArtCenter. You must use both hashtags to enter. Submissions will be accepted throughout the duration of the show, but work must be submitted by January 29 to be up in time for the artist reception. If your piece is chosen, Watermark will send a private message letting you know. We encourage all people with a relationship to land to enter.

Artist Statements:

Joseph Allen – The images in “After Contact Sheet #7” were created with a Holga 120 camera using black and white negative film. The analogue camera was made in China. It has a cheap plastic body and lens. It is susceptible to have light leaks, lens flares, and double exposures. In using a camera prone to accident, I invite an element of chance into my images. The material imperfections of the camera and the images created remind us that mistakes often lead to new insights.

“After Contact Sheet #8” is a shift away from the analogue to the digital camera realm. It has been a slow and reluctant move to digital. My iPhone hastened the transition. Various programs and apps have allowed me to mimic the images I made with my Holga.

The “After Contact Sheet” series is an exploration of what it means to be a Native photographer creating images of the land. By embracing the “accidents,” I seek to create images that suggest a place divided between what it means to some and what it means to others.

The four images from the 150th White Earth Celebration and Pow Wow were captured during this past year. I started out photographing at pow wows and have been going to the annual White Earth event since the 1980s.

Joseph Allen lives on the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation in Northern Minnesota. Born in 1964 at Eagle Butte, South Dakota, he is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Allen has been creating and exhibiting his art for over 27 years and received a 1993 McKnight Photography Fellowship. His photographs are in the collections of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the C. N. Gorman Museum at UC-Davis. Allen is currently Director of the Gizhiigin Arts Incubator in Mahnomen, MN on the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation.

Manidoikwe Devlin – I walk in our world, wandering about so, trying to capture that beauty that is given to us every single day. Growing up I was lucky to have a parent who had me stop, listen, see, and feel that beauty all around us. We would stop and just stand, just be. Listening to those leaves clap just for us.  Music is everywhere in nature. The sounds of the wind blowing through the treetops, the sounds of crickets as they chirp so, the sound of the leaves as they clap back and forth.  My home, my heart is in our woods, with our water and with our trees and plants. There is an incredibly sense of healing in the woods, in nature. She gives us medicine, she gives us music, she gives us our ability to exist. We are the lucky ones here on this earth, in this beauty. I want to show what I see and what I feel when I’m out in that pretty world.

E. Jourdain, Jr. – A man with a camera capturing life and Mother Nature in all her beauty, as well as other scenes in society such as concerts, events and community gatherings. As a lifelong resident of rural northern Minnesota, it’s only natural that nature is my favorite subject to photograph as we have that beauty here in front of us every day. Photography is my anti-anxiety medication. I am most relaxed when it’s just me and my camera. I am at my most focused when I am looking at a subject through my viewfinder.

David Manuel – My mother was born in the Ponemah District of the Red Lake reservation in March of 1934. Many families in Ponemah still lived by the seasons then and in the spring they would return to their ancestral maple stands to make sugar.

As I grew up and made countless trips from the Twin Cities to Ponemah to visit relatives, our mother would tell stories of her childhood, and as we drove by a nondescript trail, she would point and say “And that’s where we had our Sugarbush.” As the years went by, I knew exactly at what point in our trip she would start telling this story, and I always chuckled to myself as she told it again for the umpteenth time.

“And that’s where we had our Sugarbush.”

I grew up in Minneapolis, but I was fortunate to find myself in sugarbush camps now and again and I became fascinated with the process of making maple sugar. When I finally settled down and had the time, I scavenged up the equipment needed and began doing it in the same place as my ancestors had for generations.

It has grown in a few short years from a simple attempt to subsist off the land to being an educational/cultural experience for the many classes visiting from the Red Lake schools and Red Lake Nation College, incorporating Ojibwe language and cultural teachings as we reintroduce our youth into the forest.

And that’s where we have our Sugarbush.


Exhibit sponsors:

Programming made possible, in part, by the McKnight Foundation. Special thanks to Marketplace Foods and our media partner, KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio.