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From Dreams May We Learn

Paintings and Drawings by Rabbett Before Horses

November 20, 2007 – February 24, 2008 

ADLS Lecture: 6:00pm, Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Rabbett Before Horses introduces viewers to Nanabozho, who appears to the artist first in his dreams, and then in his art. Nanabozho is a complex character in Ojibwe mythology, with supernatural powers manifesting in both savior and trickster aspects. The paintings present a chronological continuum from Nanabozho’s birth in ancient times, to his interactions with the Ojibwe before and after the arrival of the Europeans.


Rabbett Before Horses started painting as a teenager, impressed by the work of European Renaissance and Baroque masters including Botticelli, Michelangelo, Titian, and Rubens. He studied both the forms and the studio practices of these masters, and creates his work using traditional glazing techniques, where layers of translucent color lend the paintings a glowing quality of emanating light. The combination of traditional European forms and techniques with a masterfully-drawn subject matter deeply rooted in Anishinabe culture, places this artist’s work in a class of its own, deserving of a wide audience.  


The Tweed Museum of Art will produce an illustrated book on the artist’s paintings, with texts on the paintings by Jean Buffalo, former Tribal Chairperson and Tribal Judge for the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The book’s main essay is written by David Treuer, an Ojibwe author from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He attended Princeton University where he wrote two senior theses, one in anthropology and one in creative writing. Treuer published his first novel, Little, in 1995.


The exhibition and events are funded in part by the Mary Rice Foundation / HRK Foundation, the UMD Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, and the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Rabbett Before Horses, Creation of the Butterflies

Rabbett Before Horses, Gaa-oshi’aad Nitam Memegwanay
(Creation of the Butterflies First Butterflies), 1997
oil on canvas, 68 x 91”

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