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'Aanikoosijigaade': Collaborative exhibit observes modern culture

Woman on a bicycle with a bald eagle head in the basket, with monster truck jump in background
Watermark Art Center
A collage piece by Joan Kauppi, whose first exhibit can be found now through May 20 at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji.

The Watermark Art Center's Miikanan Gallery hosts Ojibwe artists Joan Kauppi and Shaawan Francis Keahna's Aanikoosijigaade: It Is Linked, a multimedia exhibit calling attention to contemporary society. An artists' reception will be 2-4 p.m. Saturday, March 18.

BEMIDJI — The current exhibit at the Miikanan Gallery inside the Watermark Art Center is called Aanikoosijigaade.

The Ojibwe word means, “It is linked,” and the two-artist show combines the work of Anishinaabe creators of different generations and modalities — collage artist Joan Kauppi and multidisciplinary artist Shaawan Francis Keahna.

Graphic art featuring a series of comics panels
Watermark Art Center
A piece by Francis Keahna, part of a show available through May 20 at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji.

The artistic mash-up showcases observations of identity and culture in a modern day world through artistic metaphors.

Keahna said he finds himself able to create from a place he hasn't been able to access for awhile.

"As soon as I put my stuff in and saw how it looked across from Joan's work and art … I just had this — it feels good to be in a collaborative space, in a nontraditional collaborative space," Keahna said. "It feels like we are inventing something new."

Aanikoosigigaade will be on exhibit until May. An artists' reception will be 2-4 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at the Watermark Art Center, with Kauppi and Keahna discussing their work.

Area Voices is made possible by the MN Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.