companion species: we are all related

03.17.2022 – 05.29.2022

Montana Gallery

Marie Watt’s Companion Species (Speech Bubble) serves as the central installation around which works from a diverse group of artists from multiple times and in various media celebrate the web of relationships among humans, animals, and nature.

Marie Watt (Seneca) embraces community and connectedness in her monumental textile, Companion Species (Speech Bubble). The uniquely stitched words reflect the hands of the many contributors to her sewing circles; words such as we, mother, and ancestor, are not used solely to indicate family relationships, but to extend to all humans, and in Iroquois teaching, to animals and land as well. This exhibition places artwork from Native and non-Native artists in dialogue with Watt’s work to examine these connections. Companion Species: We Are All Related is organized into three thematic sections:

Section 1: Relationships

Native and non-Native artists across time have depicted animals, used animal materials, and reinforced the value of relationships between various species, in their artworks. The boundaries between humans, animals, and the land are often blurred. In our human relationships, we sometimes look to animals to model reciprocity and understanding.

Section 2: Storytelling

Storytelling helps humans make sense of the world and build lasting, and often collective memories. Artists use stories as inspiration for artmaking and visual storytelling, sometimes to convey moral or personal lessons. Humans may understand or relate better to stories where animals and nature represent more abstract concepts.

Section 3: Community

The definition of community expands beyond a group of people to include animals, plants, and the land. Artists depict and embrace collective activities, such as sewing circles, dancing, or hunting, to reinforce that we are all connected and related. New communities are formed when cross-cultural understanding is fostered.

Stay tuned for upcoming programs and events to coincide with Companion Species: We Are All Related.


Companion Species: We Are All Related and its national tour is organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, and Art Bridges Foundation, in collaboration with the Museum of Native American History.

Support for the national tour of Companion Species: We Are All Related is provided by Art Bridges.


exhibition sponsors

Art Bridges


exhibition related events

Enjoy the ‘Storytelling Through Dance’ event with Thresh Dance and students from Lame Deer High School, Saturday, April 30 at 1 PM.

Join us for “Live Animal Drawing” with Billings artist Louis Habeck and ZooMontana Friday May 6th at 4 PM.

Artist Talk with Kristen Cliffel, May 6 at 6 PM.

A Celebration of Our Companion Species, May 21, 11:30 AM – 2 PM.

Last Chance to view the Companion Species exhibition, May 29.