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Sculptor Jason Quigno
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN - Beginning with large solid pieces of stone, award-winning artist Jason Quigno visualizes, cuts, carves and sands out stories. As he turns the raw stone into sculptures, he captures the essence of being Anishinabe through his stories.
Quigno, Ojibwa, Ottawa and Potawatomi, remembers how his ancestors used tell stories on with drawings on birch bark scrolls. Today, he tells stories through his art he laboriously carves out of stone.
“I feel an obligation to tell our stories for future generations. I tell my stories through stones,”
“Just as the Egyptians did thousands of years ago with stone, the Anishinabe did the same thing. People will be able to see my art and learn from it in the future.”
This week Quigno unveiled his latest creation which is an entry for this year's ArtPrize in downtown Grand Rapids on the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State University. The nine-and-half foot tall sculpture is called The 7 Chief clans of the Anishinabe.
Sculptor Jason Quigno with 7 Chief Clans of the Anishinabe at Art Prize
The 7 Chief clans of the Anishinabe stands 9 and half feet tall. Made of Indiana limestone, the sculpture weighs 3,000 pounds. The sculpture reveals the seven clans of the original people who lived in the Great Lakes region, the Anishinabe, for centuries prior to Euro-American contact. The seven clans depicted are: turtle, crane, loon, hoof, bird, fish and bear.
ArtPrize is an open art completion that is in its third year in Grand Rapids. There are some 1,582 entries from all over the world who compete for a top prize of $250,000. ArtPrize runs from September 21 - October 9.
"I don't enter ArtPrize to win the grand prize," said Quigno. "You cannot beat the exposure you get by having thousands of people coming to see the work each year," continued Quigno, who is participating for the third year.
His ArtPrize entry last year was purchased by the philanthropic Brooks family and placed in nearby Holland, Michigan. The sculpture features a woman with flowing hair and a robe, and is titled Zoondige-Kwe: Strong Hearted Woman.
Sculptor at Work
Quigno, tribal member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, learned skills in sculpturing as he attended a class put on by the education department at the Tribe when he was fourteen.
"I was one of twelve who attended the class one summer. That is all it took. I was hooked. I am the only one who made a career out of it," reflects Quigno. He works out of a studio in southwest Grand Rapids.
Dennis Christy and Dan Mena were the master artists who taught the class. Quigno takes pride in the fact he became friends of the two and they have remained friends since.
Quigno believes in passing his art on to others, as well. Assisting Quigno in the creation of The 7 Chief clans of the Anishinabe were Ambrose, Navajo, and Leroy Hall, Saginaw Chippewa.
In addition to the sculpture exhibited in Holland, Quigno's work can be seen around various other spots in Michigan: Central Michigan University, the Odawa Casino and Resort in Petoskey Michigan and the Firekeepers Casino, near Battle Creek, Michigan.
Quigno is one of several artists who will be on a panel at Grand Valley State University's Loosemore Auditorium to discuss their ArtPrize entries that are located on the campus of the university.
posted September 23, 2011 12:40 pm edt
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