University of Minnesota Duluth block M and wordmark

50 Years / 50 Artworks


  Stories in Art People and Places Art and Environment The Language of Art

Art and Environment

 

 

33.
Previous Work of Art
 
Next Work of Art

Cynthia Holmes
(American, White Earth Chippewa, b. 1953)
Primal Donna (Venus Anishinabe)
1993–94
birchbark, found object, sinew; three units, largest is 9" x 12" x 10"
Tweed Associates’ Purchase Fund

Cynthia Holmes’ Primal Donna (Venus Anishinabe) is a sculpture that intelligently and economically unites materials, forms, and ideas to arrive at a statement that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Her own words, excerpted from a 1993 artist’s statement, say it best: “My work is focused on defining and then crossing cultural boundaries and the social values they imply. Being born a half-breed – Ojibwe/French/ English – I am a physical example of cultural diversity. My work often addresses this, often humorously. A birch bark bustier accompanied by birch bark high heels exemplifies the confusion of modern versus traditional womanhood. The work parallels the balance of my own earth journey, walking in two worlds: Native/non-Native; physical/spiritual; reality/fantasy. There is a strong spiritual message that addresses the environment, relying on the voices of bark, feathers, horns, shells and skins to speak their own messages. These materials are living entities and they guide and help me, as I process and contemplate my own existence.” For those not familiar with Ojibwe material culture and the natural environment of the upper midwest, it may be helpful to point out that birchbark is a plentiful commodity from which functional containers of all types have been made for centuries. In this case Holmes, whose background includes fashion and costume design, implies that birchbark may also be a container for the individual, and by implication, the larger societal body.

Tweed Museum of Art

University of Minnesota Duluth Campus
1201 Ordean Court
Duluth, MN 55812-2496

    Hours
  • Monday:  CLOSED
  • Tuesday:   9 am - 8 pm
  • Wednesday: 9 am - 4:30 pm
  • Thursday:   9 am - 4:30 pm
  • Friday:   9 am - 4:30 pm
  • Saturday:  1 pm - 5 pm
  • Sunday:   1 pm - 5 pm
Contact Us

Info: 218-726-8222
or 218-726-6552

Store: 218-726-6139

Email: tweed@d.umn.edu

Tweed Museum of Art UMD Wordmark Logo

Minnesota State Arts Board and Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment

The Tweed Museum of Art is one of six units in the UMD School of Fine Arts. UMD is an equal opportunity educator and employer.