Renowned for artfully interweaving Anishinaabe narratives with contemporary stone sculptures, Jason Quigno has established himself as a truly outstanding and deserving recipient of the 2023 Legacy Award.
Quigno’s evocative works carry a sense of depth, balance and emotional resonance, captivating the hearts of art enthusiasts and the general public alike.
His substantial contributions to Michigan’s cultural landscape ignite curiosity among viewers, fostering an amplified appreciation for the Native perspective and heritage, enriching the collective understanding of this vibrant community.
Tonight’s Legacy Award is a celebration of the enduring impact of Jason Quigno’s artistic legacy, unwavering dedication, and steadfast commitment to preserving and elevating the rich heritage of the Anishinaabe community.
Interview with Jason Quigno
What does “legacy” mean to you?
The word legacy brings to mind how some of the Anishinaabek elders held onto our language, teachings and our cultural ways despite all that was against them, their families, and communities with colonization and genocide. They held on and passed that knowledge down in secret through the generations. Because of their actions, today many Anishinaabek Communities are reclaiming those ways… our language, our ceremonies. I’m forever grateful for them because despite all the odds against them, here I am today able to take those cultural values and ways and put them in stone. Through monumental stone sculpture I hope to carry on the legacy of strength and resilience of those elders who went through so much to pass on our Anishinaabek ways.
When you stand before one of your untouched blocks of stone, what do you see in your mind’s eye?
When I first get a block of stone I look at it, feel it and think how old it is—how many millions of years old. I feel this sense of awe and gratitude that I’m able to work the stone, and sometimes I look and think, “Oh shit, what did I get myself into.” lol.
What emotional response do you imagine someone has when they encounter one of your abstract works?
I don’t know what emotional response people feel when viewing my works. I do know I try to convey a sense of beauty, peace ,serenity and balance. Part of my practice is while working on a piece, I try to put those feelings in the stone—in hopes the viewer will sense those things. Those feelings go into all my work.
In your own words, how would you say your art has evolved over the years?
In the beginning I did more representational with the stylized animals and figurative. Then at some point I had to change it up to more contemporary non-representational forms while instilling those Anishinaabek values. As an artist I got to keep moving and evolving, so I change it up every now and then.
Who are some people—artists or otherwise—that have inspired you?
Alan Houser , Isamu Noguchi , Constantin Brancusi, Norval Morrisseau, Jimi Hendrix