MSU Global hosts Crossing Borders exhibit through February 18

MSU Global will be exhibiting the work of Métis artist and RCAH associate professor Dylan Miner through next Wednesday, Feb. 18. The exhibit Crossing Borders features a collection of Miner’s work from several different projects, including Anishinaabensag Biimskowebshkigewag (Native Kids Ride Bikes) and the Michif Michin (The People, The Medicine) series.

“The whole idea is they’re meant to spur a conversation about the creative practice,” Miner said of the pieces in the exhibit. “They’re all tying into issues related to ecological justice.”

Miner started off as a printmaker working with different social justice movements. Now, he says his art is less politically didactic, but he’s still thinking about the same issues.

Native Kids Ride Bikes began in 2010 as a collaboration between Miner, the RCAH and students of Lansing’s Eastern High School. The project was funded in part by Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and has since been exhibited in galleries around the country. It speaks to a number of issues, ranging from sustainability to health to Native American culture.

Michif Michin is a collection of linoleum and wood block relief prints depicting plants. Miner made the prints with ink from blackberries he harvested. His grandmother was a Michif herbalist, which inspired him to learn more about the uses of plants as medicine.

“Normally, my prints are really didactic, so these were a different direction for me. It fit the project. They were beautiful,” Miner said.

The exhibit also features Wiigiwaasi-Manidoo (Birchbark Spirit), a series of digital prints and appliqued birch bark that calls attention to the story of Louis Riel, a Métis leader who was executed for treason in Canada in the late 1800s.

“People I know would all recognize those photographs,” Miner said. “Even though (Riel’s) figure is being hidden, they would know that’s him below it.”

There’s also a video component to the exhibit.

Bue before any of these projects could take off, Miner had to work through a few technical difficulties, like learning how to edit video and make blackberry ink.  

“The way I work, if there’s something I want to do or something I want to try or some knowledge I’d like to do, oftentimes I don’t know how to do it. I just start making and mess things up along the way,” he said. “The stumbling block is figuring out what’s the best way that I should address that, and do I have the skills that I can use to do it."

Story by RCAH student Kelsey Block.