Project Photo Album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/northernspark/albums/72177720299891552
The notion that water is integral to life is prevalent in almost every indigenous culture and community. Dakhóta peoples have a saying: Mni Wiconi (water is life) and Anishinaabe peoples have the same phrase in their language: Bimaadiziwin Nibi. For Indigenous peoples water is an ancestor, water is a teacher, water is a guide, and water is life. This project is a large-scale installation of two cloth rivers that span what is now Raspberry Island in Imnížaska Othúŋwe/Ashkibagi-ziibiing (St. Paul). The cloth rivers are replicas of Ȟaȟáwakpa/Gichi-ziibi (Mississippi River) and Mnísota Wakpá/Ashkibagi-ziibi (Minnesota River).
The community is invited to journey along the cloth rivers and interact with the teachings of water. The rivers’ pathway includes a multi-sensory environment of song, visual storytelling, and movement. The experience involves Native artists painting water stories on the cloth rivers, Native singers sharing songs of gratitude to the water, and an ensemble of movers embodying what it means to remember our connection to water. We consider this project a gesture towards remembrance. We invite audiences to participate through witness, exploration, and contemplation. Together we ask ourselves: What is our connection to water? How can we remember the significance of water in our lives?
Location: This project occurs on the grass area on Raspberry Island, the ground may be uneven in places.
Sensory features: Acrylic paint, singing & hand drumming, non-flashing LED lights, non-scented candles burning, and sage burning.
Public restrooms: Porta potties and indoor public restrooms available on the island.
Parking: Accessible Parking in the parking lot on the island. Reach out to Northern Lights for more details.
Painters: Awanigiizhik Bruce & Syliva Houle
Singers: Lyz Jaakola & Oshkii Giizhik Singers
Movers: Marisol Herling, Margaret Ogas, Gayatri Lakshmi, Julianne Cariño, Rachel Lieberman, Peace Madimutsa, & Jessika Akpaka
River Builder: Emma Mathews-Lingen
Cloth Sewer: Elise Swenson
Collaboration with Indigenous Roots and International Indigenous Youth Council – Twin Cities Chapter
Sequoia Hauck (they/them) is a Native (Anishinaabe/Hupa) queer multidisciplinary artist based in the Twin Cities on unceded Dakota lands. Sequoia creates theater, film, poetry, and performance art that decolonizes the process of art-making. They make art surrounding the narratives of continuation and resiliency for their communities. sequoiahauck.com
Margaret Ogas is a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist based in Minneapolis. Using an interdisciplinary approach rooted in dance, her works tell surreal everyday stories through a collage of movement, text and sound. Learn more at margaretogas.com.
Moira Villiard (pronounced “Miri”) is Fond du Lac direct descendent of mixed settler and Indigenous heritage (both Anishinaabe and Lenape). She is a multidisciplinary artist who uses art to uplift underrepresented narratives, explore the nuance of society’s historical community intersections, and promote community healing spaces. artbymoira.com
Gayatri Lakshmi (they/them) is a dancer, bodyworker, plant biologist and facilitator. They create movement that seeks to celebrate queer love, honor plant medicines, and spread the message of the anti-caste movement. Connect with them at email@example.com
Syliva Houle grew up far away from Turtle Mountain Reservation. Thus, did not have Anishinaabe cultural teachings to guide her as she grew up, often leaving her feeling alone and misplaced without understanding why. Ultimately, her thirst for knowledge and the never-ending journey to understand where she comes from is what motivates her work.
Awanigiizhik Bruce (They/Them) is a Two-spirit artist from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation in ND. Awanigiizhik (uh-WUH-nee-KEE-shik) which means Foggy-Cedar in Ojibwe. Awanigiizhik is an accomplished diverse media artist, poet, Tribal community leader, strategic planner, networker, tour guide and volunteer.
Rachel Lieberman has been a dancer and choreographer since first convincing her younger siblings to comply with living room rehearsals and performances. Born in Chicago and trained first in Giordano Jazz, Rachel has most recently performed in local works by Contempo Physical, Leila Awadallah, Off-Leash Area, Peace Madimutsa, A Cripple’s Dance, Mathew Janczewski, and Black Label Movement. In the hours she’s not dancing, Rachel works as a Program Director at Cow Tipping Press.
Emma Mathews-Lingen was raised in St. Paul. She has a degree in sociology, background in theater, and continued interest in visual arts and environmental studies. She currently works as a carpenter. When not working she enjoys dreaming up building projects and spending time with her family and beloved friends.
Marisol Herling is a queer, Puerto Rican artist raised, who relocated to the Twin Cities from Lincoln, NE. In her time in Minneapolis, Marisol has had the opportunity to collaborate with other local artists such as Anat Shinar, Chris Schlichting, Jennifer Glaws, Taja Will, and Leila Awadallah.
Julianne Cariño is a nomadic, movement and multimedia artist. Their practice is tuned through improvisation, Contact Improvisation, chronic pleasure, the dance of self-preservation, and connecting to the more-than-human world. Julianne’s performance work is electric with embodiments of pleasure and rage and rests in cellular orbit with mountain and ocean womb.
Peace Madimutsa is a visionary from Zimbabwe who found dance as a passion at 13. He studies multiple Afro-diasporic dance techniques. He has shared space in several Minnesota productions and strives to spread purpose for dismantling systems that distort performing artists’ visions. In addition, he seeks to create work that transcends humans, space and time.