April 5th – June 29
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 2019 | 5 – 7 p.m.

Minogwaasowag – They Stitch Well will feature the work of two gifted artists. Beader Nancy Kingbird is known for her distinct designs, which bring a spiritual voice to every pattern. Rick Kagigebi is a blanket maker and storyteller who speaks through textile and thread. Though different in nature, both artists share threads of connection in their distinct Ojibwe cultural vernacular.

About the Artists

Nancy Kingbird is a member of the Leech Lake Nation. When she was ten years old started making earrings stringing colored beads, porcupine quills, and bugle beads. Maefred Aery taught beading classes in school and Nancy took her classes.  Family members were also beading artists and they influenced her commitment to beading. As an adult she worked with her partner to make regalia for their children.

After losing her husband Nancy stopped beading for five years. She says “Then the materials were calling me. Spiritual energy is powerful.”  For the last seven years, Nancy has dedicated herself to healing and developing her skills and visual voice in her work. She is well recognized in the region’s Indigenous community for her mastery of the art form. Here her unique style, techniques and use of materials is distinct and her work can be found in many private collections. 

Rick Kagigebi (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe) lives in Detroit Lakes, just south of the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. Born in 1962 at the Ernest Harmon Air Force Base located in Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada, Rick’s family returned to the Wisconsin Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation before he started elementary school.

When Rick was 17, his father took him to ceremonial drums at the Round Lake/St. Croix Tribe WI and Lake Lena/Mille Lacs Tribe MN communities. Rick noticed that fabric and blankets were the main gifts given away. He decided that giving blankets was more fulfilling. He started sewing with no prior experience. His first blanket was a four pointed star completed in 1980 and given away at a ceremonial event. That was over thirty nine years and hundreds of blankets ago (maybe hundreds of hundreds).

Around 1994, Rick began making appliquéd mural blankets using an embroidery hoop to hand-stitch the designs down. Later he would incorporate sewing machine zig-zag stitching with Pellon-interfacing and heat-n-bond for the process he uses today. Previously limiting his work to ceremony gifts or private commissions, Rick has recently begun to show his work publicly.