-Minnesota State Arts Board - Minnesota North Star

Minnesota State Arts Board–A Creative Investment, Celebrating Ten Years of Legacy Art and Impact


Beaded works by artist Leah Yellowbird
Beaded works by artist Leah Yellowbird
  Grand Rapids – Itasca County  
  2017 Folk and Traditional Arts grant – Minnesota State Arts Board  
  Artist Leah Yellowbird  

Originally a traditional bead-worker, Leah Yellowbird identifies strongly with her First Nations Algonquin-Metis and Anishinaabe heritage. At a young age, she learned from her extended family 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, spilled into the realm of painting.

Yellowbird describes her process in the context of survival; painting and beading are like breathing to her. She draws inspiration from the traditional art forms of her ancestors while adding a modern voice to the imagery.

Through a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, Yellowbird created new beaded works, representing designs to honor each of the eleven Native tribes in Minnesota. The grant provided Yellowbird the opportunity to create these unique and traditional pieces to demonstrate the subtle differences in beadwork from tribe to tribe, and to share her culture with Minnesotans of all ages.