Azhwakwa: Contemporary Anishinaabe Art


The Anishinaabeg are one of the largest collective groups of Indigenous peoples north of the Rio Grande. They include the Three Fire Council—the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi—and the Oji-Cree and Algonquin peoples. Their homelands are centered on the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States, and now with communities as far away as Montana and Oklahoma. and they speak related Algonquian languages. 

The United States federal government forcibly removed several Anishinaabeg groups far from their homelands. On this journey, often referred to as the Trail of Death, Potawatomi and Ottawa communities were established leading to the development of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Over time, many other individual Anishinaabe moved from their homelands for family or work. Through moving and changing landscapes these individuals and tribes maintain strong ties with their fellow Anishinaabeg. The artists in this exhibition demonstrate Anishinaabe brilliance, artistic innovation, and address what it means to be Anishinaabe today. 

Azhwakwa is a Potawatomi word that translates to "Beyond the Woods." This exhibition is a celebration of living Anishinaabeg culture in the Southern Plains and explores how visual arts connect diverse Anishinaabe people with their larger shared community and how, no matter where they may live and despite more than a century of assimilation efforts, Anishinaabeg remain Anishinaabeg.

Tentatively scheduled for August 21–October 4, 2020.


Featured Artists

  1. Matthew Bearden (Citizen Potawatomi/Kickapoo), painter, Tulsa, OK | link

  2. Kelly Church (Gun Lake Potawatomi/Odawa/Ojibwe), birchbark biter, black ash basket maker, Hopkins, MI | link

  3. Gordon Coons ( (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe), fumage artist, painter, printmaker, St. Paul, MN | link

  4. Amber DuBoise-Shepherd (Prairie Potawatomi/Sac & Fox/Diné), painter, Shawnee, OK | link

  5. Nicole Emmons (Citizen Potawatomi), animator, filmmaker, puppeteer, Oklahoma City, OK | link

  6. Dennis Esquivel (Grand Traverse Odawa/Ojibwe), furniture maker, painter, woodworker, Santa Fe, NM | link

  7. Monica Raphael (Grand Traverse Odawa/Ojibwe), beadwork artist, quillwork artist, Apache, OK | link

  8. Neebinnaukzhik Southall (Rama Chippewa), beadwork artist, watercolor painter, Santa Fe, NM | link

  9. Stuart Sampson (Citizen Potawatomi), painter, Edmond, OK | link

  10. Jodi Webster (Prairie Potawatomi/Ho-Chunk), jeweler, draftsperson, Phoenix, AZ | link

Painting at right by Dennis Esquivel
(Grand Traverse Odawa/Ojibwe)

© 2023 by The Oscar Jacobson Foundation