Young Native Americans' work highlighted in new photography display at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center
Dozens of photographs taken by four local Native American youth artists during a two-week photography camp last summer are now on display in the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center for all to see.
BEMIDJI — The halls of Sanford Bemidji Medical Center just got a whole lot brighter.
Dozens of photographs taken by four local Native American youth artists during a two-week photography camp last summer are now on display in the medical center’s halls for all to see.
On May 4, family, friends and strangers alike gathered for the grand reveal of the student’s exhibit titled “Bi-dibaajimowag — The Eagles Come Telling Stories.”
Karen Goulet, program director of the art center's Native American Gallery, expressed how proud she was of the students during the reveal event and is excited their work is being shared and seen.
“This is why I love doing what I do. My goal is to make sure that the world knows more about the wonderful talent that we have right here in our own communities,” Goulet said to those in attendance. “This is an opportunity for students to start young in something they’re passionate about and representing their communities, their nations and their families.”
A collaboration of Watermark Art Center and Gizhiigin Arts Incubator, the students committed their time and energy to this two-week photography camp under the mentorship of artist-in-residence Falcon Gott of Sapotaweyak Cree Nation and three other area professional Native American photographers.
“I want to thank Sanford for seeing this work, appreciating it and wanting to bring it out and share it. I think this is the first time we’ve done something like this, it was a lot of moving parts and I just really feel like a lot was accomplished,” Goulet said. “I think that all of my ancestors who are from here are all smiling down right now, happy to see this visibility of our community members in a really positive way.”
The four student artists Precious Jourdain, Waabinoo Littlewolf, Waasebiik Belgarde and Malachi Norris were taken through the steps of the working photographs. During the workshop, students were able to gain exposure to professional processes and creative ideas. They made connections with each other and shared ideas and their work, taking full advantage of the experience.
While the main exhibit is through the east entrance of the hospital, more photographs are scattered around the halls. By integrating Native American practices like photographs by up-and-coming artists, Sanford hopes to create a more inviting and educational environment for all patients.
“Sanford realizes the importance of our Native American culture in this region. It's something to be celebrated and honored, which is why we are here today,” Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota President and CEO Karla Eischens said. "We are excited to be able to display this photography throughout the regional hospital and our clinical locations. So thank you, everybody, for coming and supporting this. I hope we will continue to support our youth and in their talents and efforts."