On April 12, 2023, the Region 2 Arts Council’s Anishinaabe Arts Initiative Council, a body comprised of Indigenous artists and arts appreciators from our region, awarded two $5,000 Fellowships through their Anishinaabe Arts Initiative (AAI) program. The AAI Fellowship is made possible by the generous support of the McKnight Foundation, and aims to assist the region’s most talented enrolled tribal members and descendants in their artwork by awarding financial support to fund creative time, purchase of arts materials, supplies, and equipment, or arts research and experiences. Eligible artists must have a substantial body of work and must reside in Minnesota’s Beltrami, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, Clearwater, Mahnomen, Becker, Itasca, Roseau, and Cass counties.
Photographer Ningozis White (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe).
Everyone who knows Ningozis White calls him “Gozy.” He is a graduate of Bemidji State University with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, and is highly motivated when it comes to good physical and mental health. Gozy first started practicing photography at the Lake Superior College, Duluth, MN in 2016. His experience in photography has mostly been spent in commercial photography for apparel merchandising, websites and marketing. He has a strong connection to his community and actively participates in tribal cultural activities throughout the United States and Canada. Gozy loves the outdoors and plans on improving his photographic abilities capturing nature, wildlife, and photo-documenting the important aspects of his Anishinaabe culture and people.
Bead worker Martina Isham, Bagwajikwe “Wilderness Woman” (Anishinaabe, Red Lake Nation).
Martina Isham’s work is inspired by nature and her Anishinaabe heritage. She acknowledges her style is “very woodland.” Martina loves to reference nature in the design, color, and flow of the beads in her work. Both of her parents are Anishinaabe artists, and Martina’s love for art and creating started with them. Martina grew up on the Red Lake Reservation, and currently resides with her partner Steve and their three smart, wildly cute, adventurous boys in Bemidji. As a family, they love exploring new trails and are outdoors every chance they get.