Andrea Carlson’s Sunshine on a Cannibal

Meet the Artists of Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists

An artwork made with paint, colored pencils, and graphite depicting many different scenes.

Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe), Sunshine on a Cannibal, 2015, oil, acrylic, ink, colored pencil, and graphite on paper, Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Mr. and Mrs. Bernard M. Granum Fund 2017.29A-X. Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art. © 2015 Andrea Carlson

Artist’s Language

Andrea Carlson dibaadodaan apii awiiya nisidwaabamaad “meyagi-ayaanid” gaawiin wiikaa daa-nisidwenjigaazosiinid. “Meyagi-ayaajig” moozhag bagwanomindwaa wii-aanjijigaazowaad enigok. Zaagaasigaazo Wiindigo izhi-giniginigaadewan Anishinaabe-gizhenindaagwag gaye Waabishkiiwewakii-gizhenindaagwag gaye ezhi inendang wii-gwayakosidood gaa-bagwanomaawaad “Meyagiayaajin.” Carlson anokaadaan wii-aanjiwendamang “Mayagi-ayaawin” gaye ezhi-gagwe-aanji’idiyang.


Artist Andrea Carlson describes the way one culture can identify others as “exotic” as a kind of “cultural cannibalism.” Western cultures often sensationalize other cultures in order to objectify and consume them, even as they attempt to erase them through assimilation. The dense, layered imagery in Sunshine on a Cannibal is drawn from particular Native American artworks, European paintings, and conceptual art and reclaims what westerners have historically sought to define and objectify. Carlson’s work challenges the concept of “other” and asks us to consider how cultures are consumed by one another.