Intricate, graceful, thought-provoking, and profound are all words that have been used to describe the elaborate masterwork of Leah Yellowbird. Using precision, pressure, and symmetry, Yellowbird’s pointillistic style leaves viewers humbled and curious. She draws inspiration from the traditional art forms of her ancestors while adding a modern voice to the imagery, the result of which evokes a sense of nostalgia and wonder. Her work is a visual manifestation of time—each dot embodying a moment and a prayer. Yellowbird describes her progress in the context of survival; painting and beading are like breathing to her.
Originally a traditional bead-worker, Yellowbird identifies strongly with her First Nations Algonquin-Metis and Anishinaabe heritage. At a young age, she learned from her aunt how to follow traditional beading patterns and has been working in this medium her entire life. This knowledge, combined with her creative eye and exploration of color, has spilled over into the realm of painting, and she is now well regarded for her work in all mediums.
The solo art exhibition is on display now until May 20 at the Inez Greenberg Gallery at the Bloomington Center for Arts, 1800 West Old Shakopee Road. For more information about the artist and exhibit, visit blm.mn/upcomingexhibitions.