Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Norval Morrisseau's Final Resting Place

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-KEEWAYWIN FIRST NATION
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Norval Morrisseau (1931/03/14 - 2007/12/04) was buried next to his wife Harriet Morrisseau* (1935/10/11 - 1995/05/11) at cemetery in Keewaywin First Nation, Ontario, Canada.
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* - née Kakegamic (sister of Henry, Joshim and Goyce Kakegamic - founders of the Triple K Cooperative in 1973, a silkscreening company that reproduced their own work, as well as that of other artists like Paddy Peters, Barry Peters, Saul Williams, and their brother-in-law Norval Morrisseau)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CODE FOR LONG LIFE AND WISDOM

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"Thank Kitche Manitou for all his gifts.
Honour the aged; in honouring them, you honour life and wisdom.
Honour life in all its forms; your own will be sustained.
Honour women; in honouring women, you honour the gift of life and love.
Honour promises; by keeping your word, you will be true.
Honour kindness; by sharing the gifts you will be kind.
Be peaceful; through peace, all will find the Great Peace.
Be courageous; through courage, all will grow in strength.
Be moderate in all things; watch, listen and consider; your deeds will be prudent."
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Source: OJIBWAY HERITAGE - The ceremonies, rituals, songs, dances, prayers and legends of the Ojibway; author: Basil Johnston; Copyright ©1976 by McClelland and Stewart; ISBN 0-7710-4442-9
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* The painting in this posting: "Heavenly Twins Give Gift of Life", 51"x61", © c. 1970s Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Monday, April 28, 2008

Norval Morrisseau's "Children of Mother Earth"/"Enfants de la terre nourricière"

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"The Art of Norval Morrisseau In Porcelain"
("L'art de Norval Morrisseau sur porcelaine")
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Limited edition series of four collector's plates entitled Children of Mother Earth* (Enfants de la terre nourricière) were comprised of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. The set (Edition of 2500; each plate is 9 3/4" DIA) was based on Norval Morrisseau's designs produced in Germany (1983) by Anna-Perrenna, from the very finest Rosenthal porcelain. Each plate have original satin lined box, certificate of authenticity and were individually signed by Norval Morrisseau. There is also a booklet that came with the set, called "The Art of Norval Morrisseau In Porcelain" ("L'art de Norval Morrisseau sur porcelaine").
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Note: Even the edition was of 2500 only about 500 sets were actually produced.
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* © Norval Morrisseau

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Honouring Moses (Potan) Nanakonagos

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"Norval Morrisseau's maternal grandfather"
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"It is only his name I want to mention (when asked by Selwyn Dewdney* to fill a genealogy form), so that in one way or the other his good heart, his good teachings shall be repayed. Of my actual father I saw little... I knew he was not my father but I began to love and respect him more and more as I advanced in years, as this was all a part of me and I must carry on his wisdom."-

Norval Morrisseau
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* Selwyn Dewdney - Art aducator and noted expert on Ojibway art and anthropology. Edited Norval Morrisseau's book "Legends of My People, The Great Ojibway" /Toronto, Ryerson Press, 1965/-

A still image of Moses (Potan) Nanakonagos © CBC

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Recommended readings (Part IV)

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"I AM AN INDIAN", © 1969 BY J. M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Limited;
Edited by George Kentner Gooderham
ISBN 460-92551-2
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This book was the first anthology of Indian literature published in Canada. It had been written and illustrated by men and women who are called Indians, but who think of themselves as Sioux or Salish, Ojibway or Delaware, Abnakis or Assiniboine. Here is a glimpse into an Indian world - a world of wars and treaties, honour and treachery, wealth and degradation. Indian stories, songs, and poems from all areas of Canada have been included so that others may enjoy some of the fun that is Blackfoot fun, meet some of the heroes that are Cree heroes, and learn some of the wisdom that is Kwakiutl wisdom.
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The reader will be able to find out about some of Canada's Indian "rebels" from the "inside". He will be able to share the experiences of a young Assiniboine boy whose parents both die violently in a tragic set of circumstances uniquely Canadian. Included, too, is the story of the young Okanagan who became Canada's first Indian Member of Parliament.
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The Indian people here offer to share the experi­ences and thoughts of their Canada - too long neglected - and which form a vital part of the heri­tage rightfully belonging to all who call themselves Canadians.
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Cover illustrations:
The upper picture, "Canadian Geese", is by Francis Kagige (Ojibway for "Forever"), a self-taught Odawa Indian from Manitoulin Island, Ontario; The lower picture, "Thunderbird Fish", is by Norval Morriseau, whose Indian name is Copper Thunderbird. Mr. Morriseau is an Ojibway, born and raised in the area northwest of Lake Superior.

Friday, April 25, 2008

STORIES BEHIND THE PAINTINGS (Great Life Adventures of Norval Morrisseau) - Part I

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"THE SLEEPING GIANT", Thunder Bay, Ontario, © Richard Ogima
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NORVAL MORRISSEAU: ISLANDS WITHIN
By Denese Izzard, Gabriola SOUNDER
Friday, 25-March-2005
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From Thunder Bay, Manitoulin Island, Toronto, Jasper Alberta, Santa Fe, Vancouver to Nanaimo, Canada's national treasure, Norval Morrisseau born to power of place, found the power to be.
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Starting his venturesome life at Sandy Lake Reserve (born in Fort William, now Thunder Bay), the man known as father of "The Woodland School of Art" knew as a child that he was on a mission not to lose his people's culture. The artist's way would preserve it, defying tribal taboos against revealing sacred tales to the outside world.
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Mother Ojibway, father Métis, Morrisseau was raised in traditional manner by maternal grandparents. A medicine woman gave him the protective name, his now famous signature "Copper Thunderbird."
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Later like lightning before rumbling thunder, Norval would wield his paint brush on plywood panels, brown wrapping paper, and birchbark scrolls, making images come alive from stories passed down from shaman to shaman for thousands of years, told to him by his own grandfather, Shaman Moses "Potan" Nanakonagos, sixth generation Ojibway.
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Throughout his career, Norval would dream dreams and have visions. His astral travels took him to the House of Invention, his source of inspiration for both content and colour. There he learned that ions and electrons were an underlying force that radiated from a colourful palette - that colour therapy can cure people. With ancients as guides telling him that heaven is "as above, so below," images were brought through him and out of him. Yet he felt he was only an instrument.
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Morrisseau's art continued to reveal original designs and illuminate history with new information. "My art speaks and will continue to speak, transcending barriers of nationality, language and other forces that may be divisive, fortifying the greatness of the spirit that has always been the foundation of the Ojibwa people."
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In the 1950s, working in a gold mine in Cochenour, struggling to sell his work at the Fergie McDougal General Store, the artist was discovered by Dr. Joseph and Esther Weinstein. Amazed by Morrisseau's talent, they bought everything he painted while he was still employed at the gold mine. Then in 1962 art dealer Jack Pollock paid a visit to Beardmore, Ontario. Overwhelmed by Norval's canvases, an exhibit was planned for his Toronto gallery. A huge sensation, the show sold out.
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"SACRED BUFFALO WORSHIPPERS", 35"X52", c. 1964 © Norval Morrisseau /Collection of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta/
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A few years later Norval's "Sacred Buffalo Worshippers" graced Calgary's Glenbow Museum, drawing rave reviews. It was unlike any art work that had been done before.
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One of Canada's most accomplished painters, Morrisseau has exhibited throughout North America, France, Germany and Norway. In 1989 he was the only Canadian painter invited to exhibit at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris to mark the bicentennial of the French Revolution. A member of the Order of Canada and the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, Norval Morrisseau holds the eagle feather, the highest honour awarded by the Assembly of First Nations.
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Morriseau also caught the attention of the greats. Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall attended a show of his works at a solo exhibition at the Galerie St. Paul, in St. Paul-de-Vence, France (1969), where Chagall remarked, "Norval Morrisseau's work bears the hallmark of a Picasso of the north." A clear reference to the originality of the work and its break from hidebound precedents that had characterized native North American art.
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All considered, the mid-1980s were a difficult time for Canada's world famous artist who, after a failed business attempt, ended up on the streets of Vancouver.
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In 1987 he met Canadian-born Hungarian Gabor Vadas, a remarkable young man, who helped him to get back on track. Said Morrisseau, "He's the son I've been dreaming about for 20 years." He also became the artist's muse. Then Vadas met future French-Acadian wife, Michele. By the time sons Robin and Kyle arrived, Norval had a built-in family. In White Rock, living in a 2-storey home, Gabe built an artist's studio with skylights, stained glass door, and deck facing the waterfront. These years resulted in some of his best work.
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The internationally acclaimed painter has exhibited throughout North America, France, Germany and Norway. Internationally recognized at age 73, Norval Morrisseau is bound for immortality.
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Today his life fully lived, he resides in a Nanaimo carehome, relatively comfortable after a stroke and Parkinson's Disease confined him to a wheelchair. The Vadas' spend most every day with the nation's artistic treasure - going for drives in the country, walks on the sea wall, or at their home.
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Artistic royalty, nearly iconic, Morrisseau sits stoically in a large leather recliner, TV on. Not wanting to lean into his space, the writer kneels, dares to touch the hand of the Grand Shaman of the Ojibway. His deep brown eyes darken, rest on the stranger. Breaking the spell, Michele places a cup of coffee on his sidetable and sits down, opening an impressive album of Norval Morriseau paintings, vital to the screenplay she's working on.
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"THE FAMILY", c. 1990s, © Norval Morrisseau /Collection of Gabor and Michele Vadas/
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Featured on a wall is another dynamic work portraying "The Family" - Norval, Gabe, Michele and Robin. Michele says, "I wouldn't sell this painting for anything."
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Years ago Robert and Signe McMichael, founders of the McMichael Collection at Kleinburg, Ontario, invited Morrisseau to stay in Tom Tomson's cabin on their property. Michele recalls, "Before he died, McMichael said he believed that when Canada 'disappears,' Morrisseau will remain. I believe history will note that Norval will be better known than Picasso. He's more original."
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* Text - from "Gabriola SOUNDER" - Gabriola Island, BC Community Newspaper Website; Text addition/correction: Spirit Walker
* "Sacred Buffalo Worshippers" - from Exhibition Booklet "The Art of Norval Morrisseau and The Writings of Basil H. Johnston"; an exhibition presented in conjuction with Glenbow Museum's Summer 1999 theme "Powerful Images".
* "The Family" - from "Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery", Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada

Thursday, April 24, 2008

THE MORRISSEAU PAPERS (Part II)

An Inside Story
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ROBERT'S STORY
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It all started with a letter from home, pushed through the mail slot of my Swedish address with the usual flood of junk mail. Enclosed was a MacLean's magazine article featuring Norval Morrisseau, a Canadian Ojibwa artist and my nemesis of almost thirty years ago. An old friend had sent me the article, no doubt to stir up memories of experiences we had shared with Norval.
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Having been out of contact with my Canadian roots for many years, I assumed that Norval's destructive life style had sent him to The Happy Hunting Ground long since. I was grudgingly pleased to read that he was still alive.
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The MacLean's article recalled for me a hilarious yet often perilous association that began in the mid 1960s and continued for almost ten years.
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At that time, I was a consultant for the Ontario Department of Education, covering a territory that stretched from the American border in the south to Hudson's Bay in the north, and from about twenty miles west of the Lakehead (now Thunder Bay) to the Manitoba border more than 300 miles further west. About ten percent of the population of the area was Ojibwa and Cree Indian, most of them living in isolated communities north of the gold mining towns of Red Lake and Pickle Crow. Access was only by air. I was an experienced pilot certified to maintain my own aircraft.
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My first meeting with Norval occurred at a Chief and Councilor's training course sponsored by The Ontario Department of Education and the Federal Department of Indian Affairs. He was living on his wife Harriet's Sandy Lake Reserve, and the band elders selected him for the course.
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My branch of the Department was responsible for sports and art for both Indian and white communities. Thus I was destined to see a lot of Norval, whose artistic growth was obviously being restricted by the isolation of Sandy Lake. His hand-to-mouth existence and growing family responsibilities aggravated the restriction. However, it was the problem of obtaining art supplies that tipped the scales, along with Norval's wish to be in contact with other artists. And so he adopted an itinerant lifestyle, putting great stress on his family relations. However, it was a step towards his goal of becoming a famous artist, a goal he achieved at great personal cost.
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When in 1970 I convinced the Department to sponsor an "art circuit" to bring an appreciation of Indian art and culture to northern communities, I didn't realize what a task it would be. Had I known that I would eventually become Norval's and Carl Ray's pilot, keeper, marriage counselor and general fixer I would have fled the scene on winged heels. As it was, Norval and Carl changed my routine civil service life into a series of madcap adventures.
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I like to think that I influenced Norval's life by bringing him back, time and time again, to the path that led him to international recognition. He paid his debt to me by providing escape from a life that held security but little happiness.
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I left Canada in 1972 and lost track of Norval. Many years later, settled in Sweden, I regained possession of the three thick files I'd assembled, long ago, on my association with him. I had once entertained the thought of writing about this period in Norval's growth as an artist. As I scanned these files, the idea re-surfaced and I enlisted an email correspondent, Hazel Fulford, as co-Author. However, Norval's power of attorney refused permission to reproduce the artist's letters and paintings. We dropped the project for two years. Now we have decided to tell the story in our own way.

Robert Lavack
Prague, 2006
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The Morrisseau Papers, by Hazel Fulford, published by Perdida Press in Thunder Bay in 2007, is an inside story based on the papers Mr. Robert Lavack had from his days with Norval Morrisseau and the art circuit. It also contains Lavack's reminiscences of the time. The book provides key evidence about the early life and career of Norval Morrisseau.
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Copyright © Hazel Fulford 2007
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To order your copy e-mail: fulhouse3@shaw.ca

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Recommended readings (Part III)

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Written in 1852 and first published in 1885, is perhaps the most important history of the Ojibway (Chippewa) ever written. Warren, the son of an Ojibway woman and a white man, collected firsthand descriptions and stories from his relatives, tribal leaders, and acquaintances. He transcribed this oral history in terms that nineteenth-century whites could under­stand, focusing on warfare, tribal organization, and political leaders. Interspersed among his vivid descriptions of memorable battles is a wealth of information on the Ojibway people's customs, family life, totemic system, hunting methods, fur trade, and relations with other tribal groups and with whites. W. Roger Buffalohead's new introduction to this edition describes the complexities that make this a fascinating study.
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"HISTORY OF THE OJIBWAY PEOPLE" by William W. Warren; Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul 1984; ISBN: 0-87351-162-X; COVER: Ojibway camp with birch-bark wigwams and canoes, ca. 1870; photograph by Benjamin F. Upton; Minnesota Historical Society Collections.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Norval Morrisseau Prints (Part V)

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"LEGEND OF THE FISH PEOPLE AT THE GREAT FLOOD", 32"x41" (image size: 22"x34"), c. 1980 - Limited Edition Silkscreen (paper, 100% cotton), Edition of 49, © Norval Morrisseau
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The teaching about how a new Earth was created after the Great Flood is one of the classic Nanabush* Stories. It tells of how Nanabush managed to save himself by resting on a chi-mitig (huge log) that was floating on the vast expanse of water that covered Mother Earth.
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* - a trickster; Ojibway hold Nanabush as essential to any contact with the sacred.
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Note: Norval Morrisseau in most of his paintings calls Nanabush as Wasakajak (Wisakedjak; It is spelled also Weesack-kachack) which is the most common term for a trickster that Cree people use in their legend stories.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Honouring Norval Morrisseau (1932-2007) @ The National Gallery of Canada

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15 February - 8 June 2008
@ CONTEMPORARY GALLERY B206
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"Observations of the Astral World", 93"x202", © c. 1994 Norval Morrisseau
/Collection of the National Gallery of Canada/

In recognition of Norval Morrisseau’s great contributions to art in Canada, a selection of works from the National Gallery of Canada's collection recently returned from the tour of his solo exhibition will be installed alongside new acquisitions and an important loan from the Indian and Inuit Art Centre, Department of Indian and Nothern Affairs Canada. The legacy of Morrisseau's brilliant painting career continues on through his remarkable works.
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Source: The National Gallery of Canada

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Face in the Rock

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Stories are worthless...
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if there is no one left to tell them.
------------------------------------------------------www.afaceintherock.com
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Eight miles long and four miles wide, Grand Island lies off the south shore of Lake Superior. It was once home to a sizable community of Chippewa Indians who lived in harmony with the land and with each other. Their tragic demise began early in the nineteenth century when their fellow tribesmen from the mainland goaded them into waging war against rival Sioux. The war party was decimated; only one young brave, Powers of the Air, lived to tell the story that celebrated the heroism of his band and formed the basis of the legend that survives today. Distinguished historian Loren R. Graham has spent more than forty years researching and reconstructing the poignant tale of Powers of the Air and his people. A Face in the Rock is an artful melding of human history and natural history; it is a fascinating narrative of the intimate relation between place and people.

Powers of the Air lived to witness the desecration of Grand Island by the fur and logging industries, the Christianization of the tribe, and the near total loss of the Chippewa language, history, and culture. Graham charts the plight of the Chippewa as white culture steadily encroaches, forcing the native people off the island and dispersing their community on the mainland. The story ends with happier events of the past two decades, including the protection of Grand Island within the National Forest system, and the resurgence of Chippewa culture.
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* To view all "You Tube" presentations on the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG click HERE.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Norval Morrisseau Online Exhibitions (Part I)

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NORVAL MORRISSEAU: THE RED LAKE YEARS
*A special exhibit of the Red Lake Museum (June - September 2000)

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Norval Morrisseau standing in front of a mural at the old Red Lake Indian Friendship Centre, 1960s. The painting in the centre was done by Morrisseau, while Carl Ray and Joshim Kakegamic, also Woodland artists of the area, painted the works on the left and right respectively (Red Lake Museum). The following exhibit is a reproduction of the catalogue which accompanied the exhibition. During 2001, this show travelled to the following communities in Manitoba: Leaf Rapids, The Pas, Thompson, Brandon, and Winnipeg. It received rave reviews everywhere it went. Enter the Exhibition

Note: At Red Lake Museum, from July 4th-6th, 2008, is going to be held "Red Lake Woodland Arts Festival: A Tribute to Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland Artists". For more information go to: www.redlakemuseum.com.-

* Photography by Kay Tingley
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Recommended readings (Part II)

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NORVAL MORRISSEAU: ARTIST AS SHAMAN
BY BARY ACE


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"Perhaps more than any other Aboriginal artist in Canada, there is a voluminous collection of published and unpublished manuscripts and writings on the art of Norval Morrisseau. Yet today, we are no closer to arriving at an understanding of this larger-than-life Ojibway painter who remains shrouded under a veil of mystery and speculation. While many have sought to uncover the romanticized "Ishi-like" primitive who draws from his Ojibway heritage and secretive Midewiwin spiritual teachings, few have dared to venture into a critique of this complex man. Perhaps, even more poignantly, Morrisseau and those around him, were actively engaged in the mythic construction and public re/presentation of Morrisseau as a contemporary primitive.

A construct that has not only served as a mask to shelter undesirable influences of modernity, but also as a strategic marketing ploy that was incredibly successful in stimulating a lucrative art buying public, by offering them a rare opportunity to own a fragmentary glimpse of a mythical past. As the art buying public, dealers, and art institutions engaged in what can only be described as a Morrisseau “feeding frenzy”, the complexity involved in re-inventing, controlling and sheltering Morrisseau’s public and private spaces from the outside world became a hugely convoluted and contradictory task for all involved, including Morrisseau himself. The personal impact of this monstrosity of an illusion was so enormous, that few were immune from its negative impacts, and perhaps most tragically of all, was the toll it took on the physical and emotional state of Norval Morrisseau.

For many years following his arrival on the Canadian art scene, Morrisseau and those closest to him were mostly successful in shielding the constructed image of Norval Morrisseau from any outside critical scrutiny, but they were less successful in controlling and influencing internal cynicism and scrutiny from within his Ojibway cultural milieu and community. It is from this unique cultural vantage point that we can only now begin to meticulously unravel and dissect the very premise and raisonne d’etre behind the construction of this mythical Ojibway Medusa called Norval Morrisseau, where we find the primitive artist-asshaman mysteriously shrouded in a romanticized stasis existing simultaneously as a public dream and a private myth."

 For the continuation click here.
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Note: This research is a must-read for anyone who wish to seriously study art and life of Norval Morrisseau.


* Research by Barry Ace titled "Norval Morrisseau: Artist As Shaman" posted on ACC/CCA website te; Barry Ace, born 1958, Anishinaabe (Odawa), a band member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
* Painting in this posting "Mishipeshieuw" © Norval Morrisseau posted on: " Norval Morrisseau and Medicine Painting" - a website by Paula Giese who was an Ojibwa from Minnesota; passed away in 1997.

Justice for Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

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You might revisit "Justice for Norval Morrisseau (Part I)" (by Michael R. Moniz) that has gotten much attention on this blog.
/Click on image or link above to enter/
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* The painting in this posting: "Father and Son", 30"x30", © 1977 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Words of Genius XIII

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“I would like to say that I am an artist so that I can beautify the world and battle conditioned consciousness with the same tools used to condition it.
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My culture is my world."
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Norval Morrisseau
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* The painting in this posting: "Sea Otter finds Salmon", 56"x25", © 1990 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kevin Gover about Norval Morrisseau

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''He was a role model, visionary and seminal force throughout Native America and Canada. We were especially fortunate to have the great man himself present at the opening of his major retrospective, 'Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist,' at our New York City museum. Through his groundbreaking and vibrant works, he positioned his rich indigenous heritage squarely within modern art; a revolutionary and uplifting achievement that influences contemporary culture through today.''
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Kevin Gover
Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian
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Established in 1989, through an Act of Congress, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Norval Morrisseau's Legacy Continues (Part I)

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Art of David Morrisseau
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David Morrisseau (1961- ), son of Norval Morrisseau is an artist in his own right. He began painting as a child and was greatly inspired by his grandfather, David Kakegamic, as well as his father. David's vibrant and unique acrylic paintings explode with colour and strong images while respecting the traditions that form his Ojibwe heritage.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR
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As numbers conduct aspects of the Great Spirit into our physical world, so colours function as spiritual healers, causing divine energy to enter our sphere. Colours correspond first to the three-tiered human consciousness, then grow to encompass human emotion and experience.
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As explained in the discussion of the significance of numbers, all aspects of life are manifested in the trinity. So it is with colour.
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The primary colours, red, blue, and yellow correspond to the physical body, the mental body and the Soul body. Red symbolizes the energy of life while blue represents inspiration and divine wisdom. Blue corresponds to the human qualities of confidence, integrity and self reliance. Yellow is centred in Soul development. Bright yellow signifies courage and hope in this world and pale yellow reveals the higher development of the soul in the spiritual plane.
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Secondary colours emanate from this trinity and cover the spectrum of human emotion. Orange underscores vitality and health. Green reveals individualism and regeneration. Grey represents convention and formality. Brown is the colour of organization and orderly management. Violet is a colour of power and represents the subconscious mind.
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The colours I've mentioned here are the ones that I use most often. Their power assists my spiritual journey and healing process. It is important to stress that all these colours are healing colours.
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Colour comes from the Great Spirit as a tool to help us free our spirits and rejoice in this life. It is for this reason that I am grateful to be an artist; I have the opportunity to spend each day applying colours to my motifs, knowing all the time that each stroke of my brush brings me new awareness and inner peace.
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David Morrisseau
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For more informationa about art of David Morrisseau go to: http://www.davidmorrisseau.com/.-

* The painting in this posting: "Mermaid coming to the shore of Lake Nipigon", 10"x15", © 1993 David Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Recommended readings (Part I)

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"Dear M: Letters from a Gentleman of Excess"
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I accidently came across this book years ago when I was searching for a title by the Abstract Expressionist, American painter Jackson Pollock. What I got instead was an intimate portrayal of a gay Canadian art dealer in the early 1970's.
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This book is written in diary format and is an important book because it navigates the discovery of Norval Morrisseau, an Ojibwa artist that has become one of Canada's most important living painters. Jack Pollock talks about his first meeting with Norval and the their eventual travels across Canada, which Norval always kept very interesting.
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Norval Morrisseau was having problems with alcohol at the time and was arrested during the writing of this book, a day after Norval's release from prison the National Film Board of Canada began interviewing Norval and Jack for a film called "The Paradox of Norval Morrisseau" which makes an interesting companion to "Dear M: Letters from a Gentleman of Excess". Jack Pollock's book is a good read on many levels. It gives insight to the formative years of the Toronto art scene in the 1960's. It gives it's reader uncensored insight into the lifestyle of a gay man living with several addictions and acts as an important historical document to the formative years of Norval Morrisseau.
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I am sure you will enjoy it.
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A Customer of www.amazon.com
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* "Dear M: Letters from a Gentleman of Excess" by Jack Pollock; Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1989 - ISBN 0-7710-7027-6

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Robert Houle about Norval Morrisseau

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"Norval, like all innovators, had made a trajectory to contemporary cultural theory, an idea I was not to understand until quite recently. It situated Norval at the centre of a cultural transformation, contemporary Ojibwa art. This legendary artist had created a visual language whose lineage included the ancient shaman artists of the Midiwewin scrolls, the Agawa Bay rock paintings and the Peterborough petroglyphs. As a master narrator, he had a voice that thundered like the sentinel of a people still listening to the stories told since creation.”
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Robert Houle - is Saulteau, a Plains Ojibwa from Manitoba, born in St. Boniface in 1947. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba in 1972 and a Bachelor of Education from McGill University in 1975. A former curator of contemporary Native art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Houle has contributed significantly through his writing and curating to understanding of issues facing First Nations work in Canada.
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* Photograph of Robert Houle by Greg Staats, © 1998

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Norval Morrisseau: Art as Wholistic Education

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© 2008 by Vanessa Liston
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"Spiritually charged presentation of Norval Morrisseau's life, his role in the preservation of the legacy of his people & his importance for Canada and the World." Spirit Walker
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* Posted on "You Tube" on April 11th, 2008-
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* To view all "You Tube" presentations on the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG click HERE.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Morrisseau History Detective Stories (Part I)

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Once upon a time...

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THE COGHLAN ART VIRTUAL GALLERY
original paintings
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NORVAL MORRISSEAU
April 2005


Coghlan Art proudly presents available work by this great Canadian artist. Norval was inspirational in the creation of our studio and continues to work closely with us. His presence is a reminder of what an artist really is.


Norval's work is in museum and private collections around the world. The work featured here is guaranteed original and authentic. Our available Morrisseaus were obtained from the artist or authenticated by him.
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click pic for larger version
use your back button to come back

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Original Paintings
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Water Spirts, 1979

acrylic on canvas - 54" x 46"

/http://www.coghlanart.com/ original file name: nm72.jpg/

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Upper and Lower Worlds, 1978
acrylic on canvas - 34" x 80"
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/www.coghlanart.com original file name: nm73.jpg/
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The above selection of the original paintings of Norval Morrisseau was posted at Coghlan Art Virtual Gallery in May 2005. If Mr. Bryant Ross allows me I can post the rest of the images that appeared in his Norval Morrisseau Virtual Gallery at that time. If you read closely you will see the reading: "The work featured here is guaranteed original and authentic. Our available Morrisseaus were obtained from the artist or authenticated by him" (click HERE).
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When I confronted Mr.Bryant Ross, who is the gallery director of Coghlan Art Studio/Gallery, by asking him indirectly how could he make such statements that all the paintings for sale on eBay are fakes he has replied to me with quoted comment below:
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"Hi, my name is Bryant Ross and I am the director of Coghlan Art Studio and Gallery. I am the individual you refer to. My warning on E-bay is not meant to scare anyone. It is meant to inform the public about the status of the Morrisseau paintings on E-bay. I am doing this at the request of the artist himself. Out of all the paintings that I have displayed on my web site you had no trouble picking out the 2 fakes. I bought these 2 paintings from a dealer from Winnipeg. When Morrisseau told me that they were not his I realized that I had been ripped off and I took them off the market. I have since donated them at my own expense to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society to use as example of the fake paintings. It has never been stated that all the galleries in Canada have fake paintings. But there are many fakes in the marketplace. You seem to think that the motivation in this is money. The fact is that Norval Morrisseau does not want his legacy to include these fake paintings."
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The same painting: Water Spirts; 1979; acrylic on canvas - 54" x 46" (see below) was offered for sale on eBay in October 2005 even Mr. Bryant Ross in communication with me stated that he donated this painting, together with the other posted above, at his own expense to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society to use as example of the fake paintings. I believe Mr. Bryant Ross did not tell the truth.
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Water Spirts, 1979

acrylic on canvas - 54" x 46"

/eBay posted original file name: 4140_0125_1_md.jpeg/

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Note that this painting posted on eBay was shown removed from the stretcher bars (see above). Also, this painting had inscription on the back of the canvas: Signature in English, Copyright symbol, Year and a Title - all painted with black paint in a fashion of the many paintings from the period of the 1970s.

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- An anonymous commented for this Blog's posting: "Open Letter to the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society" (posted 2 days before Norval Morrisseau's passing) as follows:

"Bryant Ross claims to have donated the 2 supposedly fake paintings to the NMHS. Am I missing something or did I see at least one if not both of them up for auction just after they came off his website?? Does anybody else remember these pieces - I think they were then up for auction on one of the Live ebay auctions from a seller out west - the one with the fish didn't sell if I recall - Am I missing something or has the untouchable Bryant Ross been caught selling what he considers fakes to the unsuspecting public??? Someone please correct me if I am wrong." 07 December, 2007 15:39

/To anonymous posted this comment: Please, contact me at spiritwalker2008@gmail.com /

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- A comment of one of the Norval Morrisseau apprentices (Ritchie "Stardreamer" Sinclair) regarding to this painting: "And a beautiful Morrisseau it is - so embued with Vision!" 24 December, 2007 01:58-

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"How could paintings Norval Morrisseau once authenticated be proclamed fakes and at a later date be offered for sale on eBay as authentic paintings?... How could paintings once considered authentic without any question at a later date considered to be questionable?"

Spirit Walker

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* Detailed information about the painting at the beginning of this posting unknown: "Salmon", © 1996 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Words of Genius XII

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"My people believe the earth to be their mother and that we are children of the earth. In spirit we are one with our environment."
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Norval Morrisseau
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* The painting in this posting: "Artist with Thunderbird", 55"x38", © 1976 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Friends of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

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He sung "The Ballad of Norval Morrisseau" in National Film Board of Canada’s "The Paradox of Norval Morrisseau" documentary (1974).

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Shingoose (born as Curtis Jonnie) - Singer-songwriter, guitarist, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on 26th of October 1946. An Ojibway, he was raised on the Roseau River Reserve by a Mennonite missionary family at Steinbach, Manitoba, where he sang in church choirs. Moving at 15 to the USA, he toured as a member of the Nebraska-based Boystown Concert Choir and played from 1965 to 1973 with a variety of rock bands in Washington, DC, and New York... Currently Shingoose is acting Chair of the Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Committee for the Juno Awards.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Morrisseau Memorial at Glenbow Museum

Calgary, Alberta, CANADA

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-Memorial set up in February 2008 at Glenbow Museum

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"Norval Morrisseau was the key figure at the centre of an Indigenous art movement in Canada in the 1960s that broke through stereotypes, racism and discrimination in that era. He struggled to have his art shown in fine art galleries. And he succeeded."
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Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine-

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Tom Hill about Norval Morrisseau

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"He is one of the greatest painters Canada has ever produced. One day we were looking at the Group of Seven and he commented 'They paint trees, I paint loons and they connect to the sky'".
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Tom Hill
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Note: Mr. Hill is a Seneca from the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario, is Museum Director at the Woodland Indian Cultural Educational Centre in Brantford. An artist and graduate of the Ontario College of Art, he worked for eight years for the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa, primarily as Head of the Cultural Secretariat. Beginning in 1978 he was with the Toronto Office of the Secretary of State, responsible for the Native Citizens' Program, and with the Multicultural Directorate, responsible for the visual and performing arts. He has written many articles on Native art and has organized Indian art exhibitions for travel to Brazil, Europe, and Japan.
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* Detailed information about the painting in this posting unknown: "Growing", © 1973 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Last night, the 15th National Aboriginal Achievement Awards broadcasted on "APTN"

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Anishnaabe artist and Canadian icon Norval Morrisseau was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Gala presentation held at the Sony Centre in Toronto Friday March 7.
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"Norval Morrisseau's most significant and enduring achievement will be measured over generations as the lasting impact of his greatest ambition - to instill pride - makes itself felt in the art of new artists compelled to create by his masterful paintings."
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Greg A. Hill - Curator of Indigenous Art at
the National Gallery of Canada
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- The Gala ceremony of the 15th National Aboriginal Achievement Awards was also broadcasted at 8pm ET/PT on Saturday, March 22 on Global Television.
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* The image in this posting Courtesy Nation Media + Design.