Aza Erdrich Abe

Artist and mother currently living and working in Minneapolis, MN. Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe. Graduated from Dartmouth College.

One of City Page's 2016 Artists Of The Year

Artist Statement

Throughout my work, I contemplate Anishinaabe identity, familial narrative and personal growth. My paintings unfold on a grid - mostly visible, sometimes imperceptible, but always present. My approach to gridwork is at times confrontational. For me, the grid evokes a Western imposition of boundaries and measurements. Whether it is in terms of geography, time or identity, my work acknowledges that contemporary society is heavily codified and digitized. Within this “modern” existence, Native people have been subject to extreme forms of measurement: lands allotted, artifacts and ancestors exhumed to be catalogued, and the blood quantum of individuals generationally mapped. These systems impose their structure on my lived identity as a fair-skinned Native woman. Concurrently, my goal is to experiment with the constraints of the grid by suffusing Anishinaabe symmetry into my work. This feels natural to me, as these cultural elements informed my artistic growth from an early age. If you were to visit my family’s home, you would witness our culture’s visual language, one of skillful love and balance, present in jewelry, baskets, beadwork, quilts and artwork. I am continually inspired by these designs and patterns, as well as how we choose to adorn our loved ones and life itself. I seek a visual synthesis, a way to harmonize this multitude of complexities into a form unique to my individual experience. Each piece is a re-imposition; sometimes I succumb to the grid, at times I shirk the grid, but my ultimate aim is to create a vantage point that transcends boundaries.


Survivance- Two Rivers Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (2017)

Skin(s)- Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, MN (2016)

Synthesis: Paintings by Aza Erdrich- All My Relations, Minneapolis, MN (2016)

On Our Way-Two Rivers Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (2015)

Asynchronous Reading-  Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (2015)

Flagstaff Recycled Art Show-Flagstaff, AZ (2014)

Red Door Gallery-Wahpeton ND (2012)

Pilot Car-Minneapolis MN (2012)

Jaffe-Friede Gallery-Hanover, NH (2012)/


Aza Erdrich and the Family Connection (Midwest Independent Booksellers Association)/A Book By Its Cover (Native Peoples Magazine)


Daga Anishinaabemodaa by Pebaamibines Dennis Jones (Wiigwaas Press)/Original Local by Heid E Erdrich (Minnesota Historical Society Press)/Skin Walking by Cole DeLaune/White Birch, Red Hawthorn by Nora Murphy (University of Minnesota Press)

By Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins): Tales of Burning Love/Plague of Doves Perennial Edition/Love Medicine Perennial Edition/The Round House Paperback/Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country/LaRose Hardcover/The Master Butcher's Singing Club/The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse/Antelope Woman Perennial Edition/Shadow Tag/Four Souls/LaRose Paperback