G101 is honoured to open our 2023 exhibition season with Migrating Seeds: a solo exhibition by Ginnifer Menominee, curated by Amin Alsaden.
Join us Saturday February 11, 2:00-5:00 PM for an in-person vernissage.
No registration is required.
Artist talk details TBA.
This exhibition sheds light on the migrations of Indigenous communities, particularly those uprooted from their ancestral homelands, crossing the modern borders imposed by settler-colonialism on Turtle Island. Ginnifer Menominee’s family traces their lineage back to their Anishinaabe territory, that lies in what is known today as the American state of Wisconsin, and to the Potawatomi nation, Bear clan, the justice and medicine keepers. In a forced displacement, however, the family had to walk up to Canada following the War of 1812, seeking refuge with the Ojibwe people, while losing their own home territory.
The works in the exhibition commemorate this story of survival, but also capture a simultaneous reality of adversity, dispossession, and grief. At the centre of this presentation is wild rice: Manomin, which means the “Good Seed,” and where the artist’s last name, Menominee (“Wild Rice People”) comes from. This denotes the deep significance of Manomin, a grain that was conscientiously harvested, without cultivation, by the artist’s community in a form of reciprocal, symbiotic sustenance. This vital staple has also come to designate a unique identity for the Anishinaabek (comprised of the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, Algonquin, Odawa, and Menominee), representing these nations’ intimate connection with the land thanks to a strong relationship with wild rice: a symbol of endurance throughout time, and an essential ingredient in ongoing feasts and ceremonies. Conversely, the Anishinaabek also mourn their separation from wild rice, and from traditional ways of living—from the plants, animals, and lands they coexisted with. The violence of colonialism has affected people and wild rice alike.
The artist presents new works in a variety of mediums—sculpture, installation, photography, prints and beading—all of which relay different aspects of their relationship with wild rice. The works constitute acts of affirmation of their Anishinaabe culture and belonging, avowing healing and the notion of coming home, as well as resistance against insidious forces of erasure. The exhibition acknowledges the displacement of their family, along with many other Indigenous peoples who had to leave their territories behind, and the ways through which connections to one’s community and ancestors might be reforged from a distance. This exhibition is equally about spreading “good seeds” (Manomin) for a future that breaks the cycles of pain and longing; seeds that might migrate but take root in new places, through a sense of accountability and care for wherever one might reside.