Rick and Penny Kagigebi
Rick Kagigebi - Artist Statement
I create appliquéd mural blankets where a story is told conveying Ojibwe cultural values. The ability to make blankets,
what I’m shown that turns into blankets – all of it is a gift that I’ve been given. It’s hard to talk about it and I often feel
that people won’t accept the spiritual influence in my artwork.
Going to ceremony as a teenager with my father in 1980, I made my first blanket for giveaway, for healing. Hundreds
upon hundreds of blankets followed. Previously limiting my work to ceremony gifts or private commissions, I’ve
recently been able to show my blankets publicly.
People have told me for many years that the blankets I’ve made help them. I think about who the blanket will go to -
what can I provide through the blanket in order for this person to have a good life? I want to help people get the
blanket they need, tell the story they’re waiting to hear, maybe to heal.
One goal of my designs is to have the audience become more aware of Ojibwe culture. I was once asked why I chose to
become a teacher. My reply was that I did not choose to become a teacher, it chose me. I think the same way about
Everything is about those who come after us. I’ve been told that my style of teaching gives a unique freedom, excites
others’ creativity, allowing them to find their gifts. What’s most rewarding is teaching people to wake up the stories
within themselves and to watch them wake up to the beauty of the Ojibwe culture.