left: netting on water, center: ceramic hollow feet, right: ceramics on wall

Ebb/Flow: Pritika Chowdhry, Chotsani Elaine Dean and Courtney M. Leonard

Leo and Doris Hodroff Gallery Weisman Art Museum | Minneapolis, MN December 17, 2022 - May 31, 2025

The phrase “ebb and flow” is defined as a recurrent or rhythmical pattern of coming and going or decline and regrowth.  It is often used to evoke a sense of calm by suggesting that lows will be followed by highs in an endless and certain course. This usage, however, belies the fact that ebbing and flowing also describes the often fierce dynamism and unpredictability of natural and emotional reality.

Addressing the violence of separation, the practice of keeping memories and the invasive effects of colonialism, Pritika ChowdhryChotsani Elaine Dean and Courtney M. Leonard contemplate the past, the present and possible futures in their large scale, ceramic-based installation works. The individual works poetically contemplate the 1947 partition of India, the manual and psychological labor of enslaved and free African Americans and the changed environments and indigenous lifeways brought on by outside occupation and settlement.

Crossing boundaries of traditional studio ceramics, sculpture, and conceptual and political art, the Ebb/Flow multimedia installations deepen access to and interrogate sites of historical and cultural upheaval. In addition, they add to the material and subject diversity of  the Weisman’s notable ceramics and American art collections. As such, the Weisman proudly presents these works to evoke reflection on and discussion of some of the most important and resounding issues of our time.

Image credits (L to R): Courtney M. Leonard, Breach Logbook 22: Cull (detail), installation view, 2022. Ceramic, paint, and video. Weisman Art Museum commission.; Pritika Chowdhry, Silent Waters (detail), 2009. Ceramic, wax, and sound. 2015.2.1.1-2015.2.1.101; Chotsani Elaine Dean, Comptoir de commerce: saadje, navigeren, waarde, 2022. Ceramic, resin, and seeds. Lent by the artist.

Weisman Art Museum Exhibition Link  HERE

Courtney M. Leonard Artist Profile HERE


Artist Talk: “Perspectives on Water” with Courtney M. Leonard
Nov 29 2023 | 6 – 7pm

333 E River Road
MinneapolisMN 55455
United States

Additional Details

NOTICE: THIS EVENT IS BEING POSTPONED FOR ACCESSIBILITY REASONS – DUE TO A BURST PIPE, THE WEISMAN ART MUSEUM GARAGE IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED UNTIL THE AFFECTED SYSTEM CAN BE REPAIRED. In order to ensure all speakers and attendees are able to access the event with ease, the event is postponed until spring/summer 2024. We will continue to provide updates regarding this program.

In the meantime, consider spending time with a RICH, MULTIMEDIA INTERVIEW the Weisman’s Interpretation Assistant Eileen Bass conducted in September, 2023. You can also visit Courtney Leonard’s site-specific work, BREACH: Logbook 22 | Cull in the Riverview gallery, during museum open hours.

Ceramic artist Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecocke) will discuss her work Breach Logbook 22: Cull in conversation with Ojibwe leader and activist Sharon Day, Dr. Kate Beane, Executive Director of the Minnesota Museum of American Art and adjunct faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, and Vicente Diaz, Chair of the Department of American Indian Studies, and Director of The Native Canoe Program, at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. This conversation will be moderated by Dr. Roxanne Biidabinokwe Gould, a professor emerita of Indigenous Education and Environmental Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Leonard’s body of work examines histories of water and seeks to activate conversations about industrial impacts on water, inter-species connections, climate change, and the shifting relationships between humans and water, as informed by the past. Presented in conversation with the exhibition, Ebb/Flow, currently on view at WAM. Q&A to follow.


In September, the Weisman Art Museum’s Interpretation Assistant, Eileen Bass, interviewed artist Courtney M. Leonard in connection with her site-specific artwork BREACH: Logbook | CULL, 2022. The resulting interview is a rich record of Leonard’s process and weaves between topics of: clay, water rights, the passage of time, and her experience as an indigenous artist in non-indigenous arts spaces. 

EILEEN BASS is currently studying at the University of Minnesota and is pursuing a double major in Anthropology and English, with a minor in Creative Writing. Her communities are the Hunkpapa Lakota of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the Mvskoke Creek Nation of OK, and she is enrolled in the Sac & Fox Nation of OK. She is currently studying Dakota language because she lives in Minnesota. Her interests include language revitalization, museum repatriation, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous storytelling/truth telling within the current literary climate.

Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock, b.1980) is an artist and filmmaker, who has contributed to the Offshore Art movement. Leonard’s current work embodies the multiple definitions of “breach”, an exploration and documentation of historical ties to water, whale and material sustainability. In collaboration with national and international museums, cultural institutions, and indigenous communities in North America, New Zealand, Nova Scotia, and the United States Embassies, Leonard’s practice investigates narratives of cultural viability as a reflection of environmental record.