A new mural has been added to the entryway of Bemidji State University’s American Indian Resource Center, a pointillist work by local artist Leah Yellowbird.
“Leah has a style that is very unique and makes people want to walk up and touch her work,” said Bill Blackwell, Jr., executive director of the center. “Her work looks as if the mural has been made with beads. The murals have created a sense of pride for students in the building and a place they feel welcome in. It has also allowed us to showcase the building to potential students and has been received well. The cultural ‘wow’ factor we set out to create is now on display.”
Originally a traditional bead-worker, Yellowbird learned that her beading skills could be translated into paintings, a transition reflected in her intricate pontiallist work. After her first solo exhibition at the American Indian Community Housing Organization in 2013, her work has been exhibited in a variety of prominent spaces, including the Macrostie Art Center, Plains Museum of Art and the Tweed Museum of Art. As the Grand Rapids Arts artist in residence from 2015 until 2016, she maintained a studio that was open to the public.
Yellowbird says she draws inspiration from the traditional art forms of her ancestors while adding a modern voice to the imagery, with “each dot embodying a moment and a prayer.”