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Manidoowaadizi (she has a spiritual nature), 2022

Acrylic on canvas
16” x 20”

Manidoowaadizi (she has a spiritual nature) reflects upon familial stories shared with me from the many matriarchs in my family. These stories were often filled with the challenges that they faced as Indigenous youth and as Indigenous women, and how the teachings passed on from generations continue to fill their spirits with strength and perseverance. These teachings were passed on to me and the next generation, which has allowed us to remain grounded in the work that we do. The color choice in the child’s garment acknowledges the multiple generations of boarding school life.

Zaagi'idiwag (they love each other), 2022

Acrylic on canvas
16” x 20”

Zaagi’idiwag (they love each other) recognizes the importance of sisterhood and compassion. The relationships of healthy sisterhood are parallel to the story of the Ode’imin or strawberry. Ode’imin translates to the good-hearted berry, or heart berry, in Anishinaabemowin. As we foster healthy relationships, it allows the energies within us to blossom and flourish as we also pass those good energies into the spaces that we are part of.

Hillary Kempenich is a multi-disciplinary artist, cultural bearer, and advocate, using her work to empower Indigenous people. She is an award-winning artist and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Raised on the Turtle Mountain reservation, she continues to advocate for better educational, health and cultural standards through her work in both urban and rural communities.

Hillary is fluent in many mediums with a collaborative style influenced by her independent spirit as a creative woman and her deep connection to her heritage of Ojibwe, Cree, Assiniboine, Dakota, and French-Canadian ancestral roots. She comes from a family with strong artist abilities, whose influences can be seen within her work. While holding on to the ties to the Turtle Mountains, Hillary works to develop her skills with her own personal style.

Hillary has a growing list of group and solo shows, collaborations, and recognitions nationwide. She received a second-place ribbon in the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market in 2018. Hillary’s work is featured in private collections, museums, and galleries throughout the United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of North Dakota. She serves on the Grand Forks Foundation for Education Alumni Network board of directors and the North Dakota Indian Business Alliance board of directors. She also serves as an arts and cultural consultant and has started the wearable art line Zazegaa Designs by Hillary Kempenich. She lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota with her family.

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