Native Futures: Le’Ana Asher and Lydia Cheshewalla in Conversation: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Native Futures: Le’Ana Asher and Lydia Cheshewalla in Conversation

exhibit graphic with grid of black and white portraits of Indigenous artists
6:00 PM -7:30 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Wed November 1, 2023
6:00 PM -7:30 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


The Center for Native Futures “brings together Native artists to imagine ourselves richly, where art can provide a lens to learn from the past, nurture our present, and realize a thriving future” in the city of Zhegagoynak (Chicago in the Potawatomi language).

Meet artists Le’Ana Asher (Ojibwe); and Lydia Cheshewalla (Osage, Cherokee, Dakota, Modoc, Xicanx), both of whom have work installed in the Center for Native Futures’ inaugural exhibition Native Futures and their portraits by Rosalie Favell on view at the Block. Join us in learning more about these artists’ creative practices and the importance of fostering dynamic, expansive spaces for Indigenous arts and artists in Chicago. This conversation will be moderated by Lois Taylor Biggs (Cherokee Nation/White Earth Ojibwe), Rice Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, with welcome remarks from Center for Native Futures Co-founder and Director of Operations Monica Rickert-Bolter (Potawatomi/Black).

 This program is co-presented with the Center for Native Futures and Northwestern’s 30 Days of Indigenous.





About the Center for Native Futures

The Center for Native Futures (CfNF) is the only Indigenous artist-run organization in Chicago to promote Native fine arts, foster contemporary artists, and encourage Indigenous Futurists.

Located in the Marquette Building, the CfNF art center will host gallery exhibitions, artist-in-residencies, and community events throughout the year. CfNF recognizes the city of Zhegagoynak (Chicago) as Indigenous land and works to promote the voices of displaced Native people of the Great Lakes region. The organization fosters Native visual artists, curators, and writers at various career stages and provides a lens to learn from the past, nurture the present, and realize a thriving future. 


About the Conversation Participants

 Le'Ana Asher is an accomplished contemporary artist based in Deerfield, Illinois, whose works explore the intersection between memory, identity, and social justice. Drawing from her Ojibwe background and her love for painting, Le'Ana creates stunning artworks that blend individual and collective narratives, bringing to life the complexities of the human experience. Her use of realism further amplifies her art's power and thought-provoking nature.


lois-photo.pngLois Taylor Biggs is a writer, curator, and art historian of Cherokee Nation (enrolled), White Earth Ojibwe, English, Irish, and Jewish descent. She resides on Council of Three Fires homelands in Chicago, IL. Lois is currently the Rice Curatorial Fellow in Native American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and has previously held Assistant Curator and Terra Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow positions at the Block Museum. Her practice centers on Indigenous art history and her current research interests include Indigenous modernisms, curatorial diplomacy, and Anishinaabe stories as critical frameworks.  


lydia_cheshewalla_headshot.jpgLydia Cheshewalla is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation with Cherokee, Modoc, Dakota, and Xicanx descendancy. She is a visual artist who creates ephemeral, site-specific land art and installation accompanied by poetic factualism and grounded in Indigenous kinship pedagogy.  Lydia’s areas of interest are constellated, as they explore relationships between entities. Using a framework of place-based practice focusing on the Great Plains, an ecoregion that was created by the Indigenous people of the area through intentional and repeated application of fire to land, Lydia seeks to understand, uplift, and practice the cycles of care present in the historical, current, and planned cultivation of mutually benefiting and sustaining systems between humans and more-than-humans. Using ephemerality as a vehicle for delivery and collaborating with beyond-human kin, she rejects Western reliances on scarcity, preciousness, immortality, isolation, and waste production in creating value.


rickert-bolter_photo.jpegMonica Rickert-Bolter is a Chicago-based visual artist of Potawatomi and Black heritage. Her artwork uses traditional mediums, such as charcoal and pastels, graphic design, and digital coloring to create expressive characters and tell diverse stories. After her undergrad, Monica became involved with Native nonprofits, combining her love of art and education to develop youth programs and resources, including illustrating children’s books. She advocates for cultural representation and serves as a consultant for various institutions and organizations. Monica is a co-founder and the Director of Operations at the Center for Native Futures, a Native fine arts gallery that opened in September 2023. Currently, her artwork is featured in exhibitions at The National Museum of the American Indian, The Field Museum, the University of North Carolina Stone Center. Also, she will be collaborating on a public art piece with Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights.



Programs are open to all, on a first-come first-served basis. RSVPs appreciated, but not required.


This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. The project is also generously supported by the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation, the Alumnae of Northwestern University, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.







Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at