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Nico Williams. Breeze I (detail, top); Breeze II (detail, middle); Breeze III (detail, bottom), 2024. Courtesy of the artist, © Nico Williams

Nico Williams: Aaniin, I See Your Light

Outdoor installation: May 31–October 2024; indoor installation: May 31–August 18, 2024

Cantor Plaza and American Art Galleries, 5th Floor

With prismatic beadwork and large-scale iridescent jingles, First Nations artist Nico Williams (Anishinaabe, b. 1989) transforms the Brooklyn Museum into a place to play, explore, and celebrate Anishinaabe ways of being. Aaniin means both “hello” and “I see your light” in Anishinaabemowin, making the title of this interactive installation a greeting and an invitation to join in. 

On our plaza, you’ll encounter photographs of Williams’s Breeze series. These contemporary works feature shimmering beaded patterns whose beauty communicates Anishinaabe cultural knowledge. Step inside and head to the fifth floor to see original pieces from the series, which include intricate designs that respond directly to objects in the Museum’s collection of Indigenous art. By layering visual influences, Williams reflects and builds upon his people’s artistic legacy, highlighting its enduring vibrancy. 

Delighting the ear and the eye, the plaza is surrounded by giant jingles inspired by the colorful metal adornments that Anishinaabe women use to decorate regalia. Originally made from tobacco tins and employed for healing practices, jingles are now worn by dancers from many Indigenous nations when competing at powwows. Williams’s kaleidoscopic versions are embossed with a pattern from an Anishinaabe sugar mold in the Museum’s collection (also on view in the galleries). We encourage you to gently play with the jingles and help us celebrate this long-standing tradition.

Nico Williams: Aaniin, I See Your Light is organized by Dare Turner, Curator of Indigenous Art, with Grace Billingslea, Curatorial Assistant, Arts of the Americas and Europe, Brooklyn Museum.