Nokomis and Nanaboozhoo

Rabbett Before Horses Strickland

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 744

Deploying the visual language of European Old Master painters, Strickland brings viewers into the world of Ojibwe ancestral oral histories. Here, two key figures from the canon of Anishinaabe storytelling are represented. Marked by his rabbit ears and legs, the Anishinaabe trickster figure Nanabozhoo is led out of a forest by his Nokomis (Grandmother), her antlers representing wisdom. Accompanying them is an entourage of Great Lakes wildlife—ajijaakwag (sandhill crane), gijigijigaaneshiinhyag (chickadee), and memengwaag (butterfly). By depicting this tender moment between generations and across species, Strickland affirms understandings of kinship and respect, central principles within Anishinaabe homelands.

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