Current Exhibitions

Tim Schouten: The Treaty 5 Suite (Lost in Translation)

Tim Schouten: The Treaty 5 Suite (Lost in Translation)

December 8 – March 26, 2023


Opening Reception is Thursday, December 8, at 5:30pm.
Tim Schouten will lead an informal gallery talk.


Schouten is a Canadian artist of settler ancestry, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although he has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions at the Museum, The Treaty 5 Suite (Lost In Translation), will be his first solo exhibition here. Schouten’s artistic practice probes the edges of history, language and landscape and the works in this show reflect on the social, economic, and colonial implications of a treaty signed in 1875 by the British Crown representing Canada, and Cree, Ojibwa, and Dene peoples in Canada’s far North.

The exhibition includes landscape, text-based, and abstract works delving into language differences during treaty negotiations, and the government officials who acted as translators and interpreters during those negotiations. Sixty-five encaustic paintings on panel and canvas, created in the last 5 years. Many of the works incorporate 24K gold leaf as a signal to the value of the lands treated and of the treaty relationship itself, and to the skewed ethics underpinning the treaty structure.

Artist Statement – October 7, 2004

The Treaty Suites is a project to research and photograph the exact locations of the signings of each of the eleven “numbered” Treaties between Canada and First Nations and to create suites of 10 to 20 paintings related to each Treaty. It is a further extension of the Treaty Lands project begun six years ago.

After 1870, the treaty-making process was hastened or perhaps even impelled by the impending construction of the Trans-Canada Railroad and the rapid influx of European settlers west of the Red River Settlement following the creation of the Province of Manitoba. Treaties No. 1 & No. 2 were signed two weeks apart in the summer of 1871. Treaty No. 1 was signed at the Hudson Bay Company Post at Lower Fort Garry (the Stone Fort) near the mouth of the Red River. Treaty 2 was signed at Manitoba House, also an HBC Post, near The Narrows of Lake Manitoba. Over a thousand Aboriginal people gathered at the Stone Fort to participate in the week-long Treaty 1 negotiations. Several hundred gathered two weeks later to sign Treaty 2 – apparently a less complicated negotiation.

The Treaty 1 Suite comprises 18 paintings made from photos taken at the Stone Fort (now rebuilt as a historic site), the Peguis First Nation and my studio outside Winnipeg. The Peguis Reserve was initially created within Treaty 1 territory but was moved north into Treaty 2 territory when additional land was desired to accommodate the growing town of Selkirk. My studio is clearly within the boundaries defined by Treaty 1.

Manitoba House was recreated on it’s original site on the shore of Lake Manitoba in 1974 by a Métis group, but that recreation has itself now fallen to ruin. The second series in this project, The Treaty 2 Suite (Where IS Treaty Land?), is based on photos taken around the Post, around the Ebb and Flow First Nation and along the Little Saskatchewan and Assiniboine Rivers near Brandon on the boundary between Treaty 1 and Treaty 2 territories,

The Treaty 3 Suite (Outside Promises) is next. Treaty No. 3 was signed in 1873 at the NW Angle of the Lake of the Woods. All I currently have to go on regarding the location of the signing is a snippet of text that I found on the Internet, “…treaty was actually signed on the American side of the inlet at Harrison Creek”. I will make further inquiries and drive to the NW Angle to take initial photos next week. Treaty 4 was signed at Fort Qu’Appelle and three other locations with different groups in what is now Saskatchewan in 1874. The westward march of the treaty-making process foregrounds nicely the agenda of the Canadian Government but also uncovers in part, the motives driving the desire for Treaty amongst Aboriginals. It feels almost like Treaty 3 was signed to cover territory east of Treaty 1 almost as if Canada wanted to makes sure she had her ass covered as she began construction of the railway.

It seems impossible to speak about the land entirely outside of political context. In most cases my paintings are based on photos of rather unspectacular locales. What the land is and how it holds meaning are things I try to brush up against in my painting. I am concerned with the idea and value of “place” and the idea that history can have a felt presence in a place. The paintings acknowledge the beauty of the land but they are more essentially about the ways that image and surface can can convey significance.

My chosen medium for this body of work lends itself well tto creating a sense of history to the paintings. I paint directly with molten beeswax mixed with oil paint or powdered pigments as well as various formulations which include microcrystalline wax, damaar resin or turpentine. Encaustic facilitates the building up of layers which can be scraped away and reapplied and scraped away again in rapid succession. I also work back into the paintings extensively with a heat gun or a propane torch and various heating implements.

My view of the land is very different from that of a woman who has known life in the bush, life on a reserve, life in Indian Country. Do these paintings have a place in the complex discussions about Aboriginal Rights, colonialism, disenfranchisement, global economies, Treaty Land Entitlements? Do they have any real consequence beyond my studio, beyond Manitoba, beyond Canada? Do they hold their ground in Indian Country? In the international contemporary
art world?

Contact the Museum to schedule school tours, tours, and art activities. (701) 777-4195

Installation Images

Tim Schouten, …in a large storehouse of the Hudson Bay Company…, 2019-20.
(Diptych), Oil, pigment, microcrystalline wax, beeswax, dammar resin,
gold leaf on canvas, 72 x 108 inches.

Tim Schouten, He said, “here is Wapang”, 2016.
Oil, pigment, microcrystalline wax, beeswax, dammar resin,
gold leaf on birch panel, 10 x 8 inches.

Tim Schouten, Height of Land, 2017.
Oil, pigment, microcrystalline wax, beeswax, dammar resin on birch panel, 16 x 16 inches.

Exhibition Partner:

Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis

Individual Sponsors

$500 and above
Martin Brown

$100 and above
Ann Braaten

Freeman Vines: Hanging Tree Guitars

Freeman Vines: Hanging Tree Guitars

September 1 – November 27, 2022


Opening Reception is Thursday, September 1, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Hors d’oeuvres will be served. 

Tim Duffy lecture October 20, 6:00 pm

Tim Duffy is the founder of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve and support our nation’s musical traditions by improving the lives of the artists who make them. The Foundation concentrates on the essential musical traditions of the South: blues, gospel, string band, folk, Native American, and singer-songwriter. The foundation has supported Freeman Vines’ work and partnered with him to produce the Hanging Tree Guitars book and exhibition.

To meet Freeman Vines (b. 1942) is to meet America itself. An artist, a luthier, and a spiritual philosopher, Vines’s life is a witness to the truths and contradictions of the American South. He remembers the hidden histories of the eastern North Carolina land on which his family has lived since enslavement. For more than fifty years Vines has transformed materials culled from a forgotten landscape in his relentless pursuit of building a guitar capable of producing a singular tone that has haunted his dreams. From tobacco barns, mule troughs, and radio parts he has created hand-carved guitars, each instrument seasoned down to the grain by the echoes of its past life.

In 2015, Vines befriended photographer and folklorist, Timothy Duffy (b.1963) and the two began to document the guitars and Vines’s life story. Soon after, Vines acquired the lumbered boards of the tree on which Oliver Moore was lynched in 1930. Confronting the silences and memories of this dark episode in his local history brought Vines face to face with the toll of racial terror on his own life and work.

Freeman Vines is a self-taught luthier and sculptor born in Greene County, North Carolina. He has worked as a sharecropper, auto-body repair man, and luthier. The first public display of his work was in February 2020 as part of the group show We Will Walk – Art and Resistance in the American South at the Turner Contemporary in the UK.

Timothy Duffy has been recording and photographing traditional artists in the South since the age of 16, when he became interested in ethnomusicology. Duffy earned an MA from the Curriculum in Folklore at UNC and lives in Hillsborough, NC. Duffy’s photographs are in permanent collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Morris Museum of Art, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Contact the Museum to schedule school tours.

Educational Essays


Installation Images

Timothy Duffy, Freeman Vines, Hanging Tree Guitars, No. 2, 2015.
Pigment print, 40 x 40 inches.

Installation View

Freeman Vines, Death Mask, 1980. Wall Mount, 42 x 2.5 x 8.5 inches.

Listen to the album for free. Click the image below.

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Individual Sponsors

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Past Exhibitions

Richard Tsong-Taatarii. Covid-19: Standing Rock Fights Back

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Either Side of the Divide: New Paintings by Christopher W. Benson and Sue McNally

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Jim Dow: Twenty Years in North Dakota

April 7 - May 22, 2022   Lecture Thursday, April 21, 6 pm, followed by a reception with the artist.This event is free and open to the public. Join us on a twenty-year travel across North Dakota with Boston-based photographer Jim Dow. In 1981, the Museum...

From the Collection of Anonymous II

February 27 - May 22, 2022   The North Dakota Museum of Art announces the opening of From the Collection of Anonymous II, ongoing gifts from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Museum directors make lifelong friends. NDMOA’s Director Laurel Reuter has made...

Uff Da: The Folk Art of Emily Lunde

February 26 - March 30, 2022   Touring the state of North Dakota through the Museum's Rural Arts Initiative. Emily Wilhelmina Dufke Lunde was born in northern Minnesota and, as she says, "with a handle like that you had to have a sense of humor." Laurel Reuter...

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Museum Directors make lifelong friends. Museum Director Laurel Reuter has made many close friends in her 50-year career. One friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, has taken a particular interest in the Permanent Collection, believing rich collections of art deeply enrich communities.


Tom McNemar was at the British Museum in London researching his dissertation topic when his life became waylaid by cases of African art.

Stuart Klipper: The World in a Few States

I have made photographs in all 50 states; scoping out the lay of the land and the hand of man — and whatall may have been wrought in places where each overlay: the fruit of enterprise, and, the sullied tumult. Evidence of the land we’re on and the world we find ourselves in; where we’re at and who we are; what we’ve done; and, where we can go.

Carol Hepper: Remembering Friends

The landscape of South Dakota, remote, yet beautiful, has left its mark on Carol Hepper, a native of the state. It has elicited from her an extraordinarily poetic response in the form of a body of work that unites respect for the past and with a new means of expression.

Todd Hebert: Four Paintings

July 7 - July 12, 2021 Todd Hebert received his BFA from the University of North Dakota and his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has been a fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA; and the Core Residency Program at the Glassell...

Brad Bachmeier: Conservation Through Clay

The North Dakota Museum of Art will open Conservation Through Clay by Fargo-based artist Brad Bachmeier on Sunday, March 21. There will be no opening reception, but the artist will record a talk which the Museum will upload to YouTube and post on social media. The Museum will open weekdays 9 – 5 pm, and Sundays 12 – 5 pm, starting March 15, 2021.

Edward and Nancy Kienholz: A Selection of Works From the Betty and Monte Factor Family Collection

The late Ed Kienholz and his deceased wife Nancy Reddin Kienholz, the Factor’s one-time neighbors, are celebrated for their installations and sculptural assemblages that are controversial, graphic, and deeply critical of the politics of mid-twentieth century life in Europe and the United States.


We asked that you submit images of what you are doing to be creative in this time of social distancing, and you answered our call. We are honored to receive an outpouring of images coming from around the world.

Installation View


A Multi-media celebration of Native American life and art pulled from the Museum’s Permanent Collection and from artists from around the country.


All the matriarchs in Lynne Allen’s family were members of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota. All were sent away to government boarding schools, to realign their cultural heritage.

Staff Favorites 2020


Commissions & Collections

October 27, 2019 - January 19, 2020 Quietly and without much fanfare the North Dakota Museum of Art has been building a permanent collection that is becoming its greatest strength. With minimal financial resources the collection has evolved out of its exhibition...

Frank Sampson

July 18 - October 7, 2019   For forty years Frank Sampson—now ninety-two years old—taught painting and printmaking at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He returns for one month in summer and one month in winter to the North Dakota family’s home in Edmore...

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April 24- July 7, 2019 Who owns the power or controls it? Who has the power and can it be shifted, negotiated. Nature pitted against Humans is one of the most important power struggles of our time. Wealth against Poverty is another. People against Government....

Elmer Thompson: The Inventor

Growing up on a farm in rural North Dakota, Elmer O. Thompson (1891-1984) developed his creative impulses with photography, educating himself in matters of staging, lighting, and processing. Mr. Thompson quickly became an expert in the use of his 5 x 7 camera.

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