Grantee:  Maggie Thompson
Native Citizenship:  Fond du Lac Band of Minnesota Chippewa
Location:  St. Paul, Minn.
Award:  2015 NACF Upper Midwest Artist Fellowship
Discipline:  Visual Arts
Web Site:

Thompson’s textile art is built around a strong conceptual narrative, digging deeper into notions of identity—focusing on issues of cultural appropriation and Native authenticity. Although much of her subject matter is emotionally intense, she also incorporates moments of humor to create a balance. She starts from a basis of textile materials and weaving; and incorporates non-textile properties and elements, contemporary items relative to Native culture, into the finished product as a means to convey deeper and alternative interpretations of the design, which carries a narrative.

In the tapestry or weavings of her work, Thompson strives to achieve an intentional draw to and examination of the texture and type of materials used and how they are presented. She wants viewers to comprehend the story from the symbolism, objects and possible phrasings that are found within her work. She tells a story by incorporating different types of materials, such as photographs, beer caps and 3D-printed objects to create multimedia elements. She likes to weave a type of architectural structure in the work that creates a sense of order, balance or rhythm. The combined straight lines and geometric patterns build multiple layers of meaningful description that tells a larger account derived from her own contemplation and observations about life’s experiences, histories, identities and contemporary Native culture.

As a textile artist, Thompson finds inspiration in her captivation of textiles as a way to depict memory, universal life themes, and emotional stories that stimulates dialogues. For Thompson, each piece she creates connects her to her Ojibwe culture. Thus, she strives for her work to reflect healing and learning for herself as well as for others.

During her Fellowship, Thompson will create a body of work based on the experience of losing a parent. Her work will explore thoughts and notions of grief, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt and acceptance. She aspires that the resulting work will offer a narrative that engages viewers to contemplate life’s relationships and ponder life and death responses.

I work with an intuitive hand to bridge cultures and traditions gathered from firsthand experiences. I derive my inspiration from the history of my heritage and what it means to be a contemporary Native woman.
~ Maggie Thompson

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