Saturday, May 31, 2008

Words of Genius XIV

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"As for the colours, one was for the heart, one was for the bum, one was for the arms, one was for all the different kinds of sicknesses."
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Norval Morrisseau
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* Detailed information about the painting in this posting unknown: "Magic Bear", 20"x24", © c. 1980s Norval Morrisseau

Friday, May 30, 2008

>>> Frequently Asked Questions...

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Updated on January 5th, 2014


 

2. Who is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts in Canadian 'Woodland Art'?

3. Who is the Norval Morrisseau Estate?

4. Is information about Norval Morrisseau on Wikipedia reliable?

5. Is information about Norval Morrisseau on FACEBOOK reliable?

6. Who is the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society?

7. Who is a Blog Master of the Norval Morrisseau Blog?

8. Has the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society ever answered an open letter written to them by Blog Master Ugo Matulic who expressed concern about authenticity issues regarding Norval Morrisseau paintings? 

9. Have any Canadian universities ever been referencing Norval Morrisseau Blog as a part of their 'Educational Resources' links?

10. Has any Native Canadian owned & operated website ever been referencing Norval Morrisseau Blog as a part of their 'Native Cultural Resources' links?

11. Have any Canadian Museums ever been referencing a website dedicated to Norval Morrisseau as a part of their 'Teacher Resources' links?

12. Have any prominent Canadian artists ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

13. Have any internationally recognized Woodland artists ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

14. Have any art promoters ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

15. Have any of Norval Morrisseau's family members ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

16. Have any of Norval Morrisseau's friends ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

17. Have any of Norval Morrisseau's very close friends ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

18. Has any Norval Morrisseau art collector ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

19. Have any Blog Master's friends ever endorsed the activities on this platform?

20. Why did Principal Morrisseau dealer Kinsman Robinson Galleries launched $1,000,000 SLAPP suit against Norval Morrisseau Blog Master Ugo Matulic and what is the outcome of this court case?

21. Has Principal Morrisseau dealer Kinsman Robinson Galleries ever purchased and appraised genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings signed by the artist with black paint with dry brush (DB) technique? 

22. Has Principal Morrisseau dealer Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery ever purchased genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings which were authenticated and signed by the artist with black paint with dry brush (DB) technique? 

23. Who is an individual who single-handedly caused the greatest harm to the Norval Morrisseau Art Market and whose name is infamously connected with the Legacy of Norval Morrisseau - recently supported by Donald C. Robinson of Kinsman Robinson Galleries in a court case Otavnik Vs Sinclair SC 09-00082782-0000?

24. Has forensic science ever been employed in analyzing genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings which were signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

25.  What is the first court case ever to expose all the players involved in the never-ending saga of authenticity of Norval Morrisseau artworks signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

26.  Which is the first court court case ever to use forensic science to prove authenticity of Norval Morrisseau artworks signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

27. Which is a pivotal court case relevant to cultural property donation program involving as a key individuals Mr. Joseph McLeod of Maslak McLeod Gallery and Mr. Donald Robinson of Kinsman Robinson Galleries?

28. Which is the court case that exposed serial journalistic incompetence as the main tool harnessed by those who attack the painting legacy of Norval Morrisseau, and in the process – together – grievously undermine and devalue the legitimate Aboriginal cultural heritage of Canada?

29.  Which is a pivotal court case relevant to authenticity of Norval Morrisseau artworks signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

30. Which is the first Norval Morrisseau painting "ever to be authenticated BEYOND 'DNA' CERTAINTY"?

31.  Which are the most significant of the currently active court cases relevant to authenticity of Norval Morrisseau artworks signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

32. How did Norval Morrisseau inscribe and sign his artworks?

33. Has anyone witnessed Norval Morrisseau signing the paintings with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique? 

34. Has any owner of the reputable gallery ever witnessed Norval Morrisseau signing the paintings with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

35. Has Norval Morrisseau ever authenticated paintings proven to be signed by him with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?  

36. Is there a video footage in existence showing Norval Morrisseau authenticating paintings signed by him with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?  

37. Has any prominent Woodland artist (family member) ever authenticated or appraised genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

38. Have any genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique have ever been offered for sale at Auction Houses, Commercial Art Galleries or exhibited in Museums?

39. Has any Canadian museum ever endorsed and/or authenticated genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

40. Has any genuine Norval Morrisseau painting signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique ever been part of the Smithsonian Institution?

41. Have any of Norval Morrisseau's patrons, friends and/or collectors ever authenticated and/or appraised any genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings signed by the artist with black paint with a dry brush (DB) technique?

42. Are Norval Morrisseau Declarations A Hoax?

43. When and why it all started: "Norval Morrisseau Conspiracy & Art Market Competition?"

44. What is the opinion of the foremost expert in Canadian 'Woodland Art' (Mr. Joseph McLeod of Maslak McLeod Gallery) regarding the issues in Norval Morrisseau Art Market and reasons behind formation of the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society? 

45. Have RCMP & Thunder Bay Police Service ever done an investigation in regards to any artwork(s) done by or attributed to Norval Morrisseau?





More questions with links to the corresponding answers to follow...
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Canadian History Through the Art of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

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- Canadian Residential School System
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"Generations of Pain from Residential Schools",
© 1974 Norval Morrisseau /Click on image to Enlarge/
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"One of the most acrimonious issues to result from the Treaty process is the dark legacy of the residential school system. The purpose of the residential schools in Canada was to educate and civilize or westernize the First Nation peoples in order that they adopt a more western - that is European - lifestyle. Separating the children from their parents and forcing religion on them, it was believed, was the only means by which to achieve this 'civilizing' of the First Nations peoples." 1)
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This painting shows an Indian child being taken away to a residential school. Stained glass background inspired by the Catholic Church and evil serpents representing influences of life on Indian children in residential schools. The ancestors are holding a sacred medicine bag that is emanating powers for the child's spiritual protection. The children in the bottom left are sitting in the classroom of a residential school thinking of positive memories that their upbringing within the Indian community gave to them. There is a missing connection with Mother Earth represented with the Sacred Medicine Bear while the yellow colour in the middle represents the Creator's presence and protection.
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* Norval Morrisseau himself spent four years in the St. Joseph's Roman Catholic residential boarding school in Forth William (now Thunder Bay) from 1938 to 1941.
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Spirit Walker
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Note: There is no any specific way to describe the Art of Norval Morrisseau. The description included herein is just one way of experiencing his art. His art can be experienced in so many different ways depending of the subject matter and the knowledge and spiritual inspiration of the viewer.
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Historical facts:
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"The Canadian residential school system consisted of a number of schools for Aboriginal children, operated during the 19th and 20th century by churches of various denominations (about sixty per cent by Roman Catholics, and thirty per cent by the United Church of Canada (and its pre-1925 predecessors, Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist churches) and the Anglican Church of Canada) and funded under the Indian Act by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, a branch of the federal government. The foundations of the system were the pre-confederation Gradual Civilization Act (1857) and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act (1869). These acts assumed the inherent superiority of British ways, and the need for Indians to become English-speakers, Christians and farmers. At the time, aboriginal leaders wanted these acts to be over-turned.
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Details of mistreatment of students had been published numerous times through the century, but following the closure of the schools in the 1990s, the work of indigenous activists and historians led to the change in the public perception of the residential school system, official government apologies and a (controversial) legal settlement.
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Two major types of problems have been associated with the residential school system. First, there was a clear intent to assimilate Indian people (First Nations) into the non-native culture. Second, there was widespread physical and sexual abuse, and, owing to overcrowding, poor sanitation and a lack of medical care and the resulting high rates of tuberculosis, death rates up to 69 percent."
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Sources:
2) "Canadian residential school system" from Wikipedia
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* The painting in this posting: "Generations of Pain from Residential Schools", 48"x96", © 1974 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Authenticity known

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by Ross Montour
May, 2006
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Two weeks ago I attended a major retrospective of Ojibwa artist Norval Morrisseau at Canada's National Gallery of Art. There is nothing 'western' about Morrisseau's art. It grows powerfully and organically out of his own people's Native tradition. It makes no apologies on behalf of its creator - indeed it confronts western sensibilities and announces its own potency. Morrisseau could care less if the 'white man' never declared him credible; he knows his authenticity. Like the great Nanibooshou of his people's legends, Morrisseau shakes his great head, lays down his foot and the leaves fall from the trees. Compare this to European art at the turn of the last century. Photography, a creature of western technology, had only recently reared its head prompting artists to run for the cover of ingenuity. "Something new, something new," became the 'Om' of art. That most deconstructionist of artists Pablo Picasso sheds an interesting light on all of this. When he and others in his circle began co-opting forms from oceanic and African cultures it was an admission of the desperate extremes western artists would go to in order 'break new ground.'

And while their adoring publics were tittering about the greatness of these new maestros' wild and carnivorous works, the newly reforming masters of orthodoxy continued to mischaracterize the sources of Picasso et al's 'inspiration.' They continued to look down their noses at the 'primitives' (savages) who truly created the source art and their cultures. In Canada, Native artists who painted in styles and forms that grew authentically out of their own cultures had to live with the fact that in their own land their works were 'banished' from the cultural temples of white society - i.e. the major public art galleries. For over 40 years the 'esteemed' Art Gallery of Ontario revealed its ethnocentricity by declaring the works of Morrisseau and others as being fit only to be shown in ethnographic and natural history museums. How barren!

Back to the Morrisseau exhibition in Ottawa. After viewing the showing, my wife and I decided to take in the works of the permanent collection. Walking through hall after hall of Flemish masters and Italian renaissance masters etc., we stumbled across a room labeled 'New York School.' Entering the room we were immediately confronted by two massive colour field paintings by Barnett Newman. One of these - 'Red Stripe' - was a triptych nearly 20 feet in height. It almost demanded an act of worship be done. I laughed out loud because, for one thing, it reminded me of my first viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Remember the scene at the end when the cavemen come upon the huge blank monolith, the drums pounding out the rhythm in the soundtrack... Enigmatic to say the least! In the end they worshipped nothing. My sincerest thanks for your patience in reading this rant. I make no apology though - I am, after all, a Mohawk.
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Ross Montour
Kahnawake, QC, Canada
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Source: Robert Genn's "The Painter's Keys"
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* The painting in this posting: "Shaman Warrior", 48"x23", © 1990s Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Monday, May 26, 2008

Childlike Simplicity V

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"The Shaman Artist
Wishes to express to us
Through
The art form
That we are all
Like children
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Our childlike simplicity
With dignity and sweet humility
We view
One environment
and
Remind us of the Pure Spirit
Expressing itself upon ourselves."
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Norval Morrisseau, 1983

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* The painting in this posting: "Sacred Beavers", 24"x28", © 1971 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Sunday, May 25, 2008

NO! NO! MORRISSEAU – Christmas Letter to Norval Morrisseau from Mr. Robert Lavack

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Last Correspondence from Robby to Norval
December 2004
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"Christ", 2-3 © 1974 Norval Morrisseau -
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Dear Norval,

It was good to see you again in Toronto after such a long interval, 32 years give or take a few months. You still appear to be enjoying life and living well. Time had also been kind, considering how you abused the years given to you by that gentleman with the scythe. You even acquired a ‘noble’ appearance like that of Chief Dan George, the Hollywood Actor. You may remember, he played opposite Dustin Hoffman in the movie 'Little Big Man'. Chief George was also a Canadian native and member of the B.C. Salish Band. I can imagine you quoting his philosophies while plotting how to terrify some innocent ‘White Eyes’, a term you often used in joking derision when referring to your white brothers. I think Chief Dan George had an ‘Anishnaabe’ like you in mind when he wrote:

"… Make me strong, not superior to my brother,
But to be able to fight my greatest enemy,
MYSELF..."

The undimmed twinkle in your eyes made me recall the old days when you and Carl Ray seemed bent on destroying me with your crazy antics; smoking and fighting in the back of the aircraft next to the spare fuel drums when I was flying you around the isolated Indian communities. “A propaganda trip”, you said, “ to let your people know that Canadian First Citizens like you and Carl could achieve success in Canadian society”. Meeting Gabe and Michele, your present ‘keepers’ (read slaves) was also interesting. It proves your charisma continues to impress the ‘white eyes’.


I was often tempted to tell you that my Grandmother was purported to be an American Sioux, but I wanted to save this for the right moment. Do you recall when I first employed you and Carl on the secondary school and community art circuits when I had to bail you out of jail? You told me then that your Thunder Bird had advised you that I was Satan’s acolyte. I realized you were trying to allay my displeasure from having to drive several hundred miles to arrange your release. Your statement confirmed my initial assessment that you were slightly deranged, but I took advantage of your superstitious leanings and went along with the fantasy thinking it might give me some control over you. Being cast in the role of Satan’s acolyte did help to achieve this, but it made me think, “How would an authentic acolyte play such a role?” You started the charade and, like you, I enjoyed playing my role. I did wonder whether the native genes we carried made us more apt to contemplate, or even believe, such an unlikely fantasy. You seemed to enjoy the play as we both strove to stretch the truth and make this ‘fiction’ a near reality. It gave us lots of laughs when we thought we were overheard discussing our acolyte roles, a tall native and a tall ‘white eyes’ talking nonsense. But did you ever ask yourself, “was it really nonsense?”

Remember discussing how a Satan’s acolyte would plan the soul capture of a selected victim, you in this case? My reply, couched with a degree of pseudo professionalism to impress, was something along the lines of, “Your blip registering on the radar soul screen and was automatically be added to a roster, mine in this case. You then were classified as an easy capture since your personal history would show you as a developing artist with considerable potential for terrorism. That would naturally interest me because most terrorists I heard about blow themselves up before their souls could be captured. I was interested to learn how a prize of seven virgins used in the brain washing technique could influence a person to take such a drastic step. Gaining an insight into this process might disclose a weakness in the present system and increase our count of Islamic souls. After all, Christianity and Islam are Satan’s main competition in the soul capture activities. In trying to dampen my explanation, you asked, “Why would an experienced soul collector be interested in a person like me? Does my Shaman background and my Thunder God links terrify you? ” Ignoring your inference about my being terrified and trying to follow through with a rational explanation, I replied, “It wasn’t my interest, but that of Satan’s. He was interested in your Shamanistic background and your belief in a Thunder Bird God” Adding as an after thought, “With the Archangel as a constant competitor, Satan didn’t need an amateur Copper Thunderbird to distract him”. By then you claimed to be getting vibes and needed another drink to allay your fears, claiming that Satan might be participating in our charade. “A con man to the last I murmured.”

All of this verbal interaction and pondering strengthened my control position. To increase the drama, I casually mentioned there were other local prospects developing and implied that ‘someone’ close by might be on my list. I didn’t expect you to whine for mercy, but you appeared to blanch a little. You then tried to reassure yourself by asking me why I worked for the Department of Education in Ontario’s hinterland, when I possessed employment skills that would provide me with a better income and life style. This played into my hands because I could then indicated this was a special ‘arrangement’, part of a master plan, to position me in a strategic location where I had access to artists, educators, politicians and others, all capable of tuning into the victim’s (nodding my head towards you) mental wavelength? That was why your meetings with Bud Thomas, Paul Bennett, Jack Pollock, Angie Littlefield, Lassy Malowny, all concerned with the advancement of native Canadians, were arranged. Then there were the politicians interested in the Indian vote, journalists looking for a native cause and others that had taken place to unknowingly help in the soul capture scenario. Remember my lobbying the politicians so they in turn could pressure the Canadian Postal Authorities to issue a postage stamp featuring your ‘Mother and Child’ painting? That would have been difficult without Satan’s help. The ‘cover’ was the native vote, and they believed the story while Satan silently chuckled. The journalists were enticed by the story of a struggling artist being exploited by mercenary ‘white eyes’. If they had ever opened their own ‘white eyes’, they would have noticed the human debris you left in your wake. But I think my ‘piece de resistance’ was persuading the politicians to back a cross-cultural art program in Ontario’s secondary schools and community art clubs. This led to further recognition and gave you and Carl Ray a stage on which to perform. I must admit you were both were masterful on these circuits.

Unfortunately fame went to Carl’s head and led to the creation of a Morrisseau-Ray Native Rights Movement. It was Sad to think this may have led to Carl being stabbed to death in a barroom brawl when haranguing some visiting Ozark characters to join your movement. You hastily disassociate yourself from the movement and started wearing dark glasses and a speaking pseudo Mongolian gibberish until I convinced you the Ozark visitors had left Canada. The postage stamp issue singled you out a native choice for the politicians. They were seeking a non-politicized, native Canadian, to nominate as ‘Native of the Year’ and ‘fate’ (read Satan) pushed you into the limelight. What a ‘surprise’ it must have been when you were selected for that symbolic honour and later awarded the Order of Canada.

Pretending to capture souls for Satan didn’t require formal training as an actor, but when reflecting back on those days, the way we played out our charade was very convincing, almost as if there was a director in control. Whether we were play-acting, myself as Satan’s acolyte and you as Thunder Bird’s, we weren’t hampered by conventional ethics or religion. We joined in a make believe battle between Satan and Thunder Bird zealots. Which brings me to an important issue, why do you persist in inferring that you and your Thunder Bird made me flee the Ontario scene? That isn’t true. I told you at our recent meeting in Toronto, the first after 30-years or so, that time I checked on you in Vancouver without your knowledge. You were pan handling during the evening on Hastings street and fled in terror when you saw me. You thought you were hallucinating and no doubt thought Satan had sent me to claim your soul, After my that I continued to keep track of you from the sidelines and was happy to see you progress successfully in your art career, not to mention experiencing the seven deadly sins. You claimed this was for your art, which caused me to convulse with laughter as your soul continued to attain the ideal black gloss of a top specimen. I was amused, even amazed, by the manner in which you squandered your most productive years. There is no doubt you were possessed by the art demon you strove to satisfy. I realized that all I had to do was to wait and your soul would be an easy delivery. Or perhaps, you could become a candidate for Satan’s Acolyte Division. I could see you were on a high burn path with self-destruct resolve. Time was on my side and I felt I could leave the scene and collect the other dark souls of politicians, UN & EU hierarchy, religious leaders, terrorists, the type of candidate that appear favoured for the Norwegian Committee that award the Nobel Peace Prize.

Then out of the blue, or should I say, “dark”, Angie Littlefield send me the John Geddes’ McLean’s Magazine article that indicated you were causing mayhem in Canada. This coincided with a recall signal from Satan and an order to place you on my priority list. Establishing contact again wasn’t a problem because Gabe and Michele, to their amazement, ‘discovered’ a cache of 30 early Morrisseau paintings in your dwindling hoard (courtesy of Satan’s art forgers). This led to an art showing and sale in Toronto of the ‘30 pieces’, or paintings. Doesn’t the 30 pieces sound familiar? With the showing arranged and knowing you would follow the money, I arranged to be there and saw your look of surprise as you penetrated my disguise of age. This surprise was quickly replaced by a twinkle of humorous defiance in your eyes and a smile of confidence as you whispered in a conspirator’s manner, “I’m looking forward to continue the charade.” Amused that you remembered this, I whispered back, “It will be interesting to see if our charade skills have deteriorated over the years?” I knew then the victory was mine and I would regain the prestige and confidence I enjoyed in our first encounter. During my last briefing by Satan, I hedged a little indicating that everything in your case was under control. That permitted me to plead for more time before collecting your soul. I used the excuse that a further delay would allow time for your soul to attain that perfect black sheen so prized by Satan. My request was granted when I was able to convinced Satan that your terrorist activities on this planet hadn’t yet peaked. I foresaw your ‘painting authentication‘ scam and was interested in seeing the outcome of this.

Perhaps I should have heeded the haunting words of Simon Frogg that echoed above the noise of the storm at Big Trout Lake on that memorable night in the early 1970’s. His cries of panic merged and broke into sobs of relief when we finally managed to subdue and tie you, an inebriated and possessed artist, to a tree in the hope that the cold, lashing rain, would return you to some semblance of normality. His repetitive cries of, “No! No! Morrisseau”, heard above the clap and rumble of thunder, interspaced with lightning illuminating the scene, highlighted the effects of your writhing and fighting actions. Not to forget the liberally added curses and screams that accompanied these. All this had a profound and drastic effect on poor Simon. Bravely trying to bolster his shaken spirit after such a traumatic experience, in a shaking voice he kept mumbling, “So that’s the Great Morrisseau! So that’s the Great Morrisseau!”… I knew then that you had broken his spirit and made a few cracks in mine.

The Bishop of Keewatin, and other members of the Christian Synod, who were meeting in Big Trout Lake, were attracted by your screams and curses and witnessed Simon’s and my subduing action. This, combined with my having to fish you out of the lake when you stumbled out of the aircraft door and into the water earlier, convinced the Bishop and his entourage that I was responsible for corrupting a member of his flock. He didn’t know about my frantic search in Red Lake before locating you and Carl arguing and in a drunken state in the Red Lake Inn saloon. Then there was a problem of getting you and your gear in the aircraft where you continued drinking from a secreted supply you denied existed. When airborne and on route to Big Trout Lake, your continued drinking ended up with you and Carl fighting with forbidden cigarettes in your mouth. When I leaned back to separate you and Carl, fearing that sparks from your cigarettes might ignite the reserve fuel carried in Jerry cans under your seats, one of you grabbed my arm that produced a series of aerobatics until I could free myself and return the aircraft to a stable flying condition. After all that, and being embarrassed by your falling out of the aircraft float and into the lake, Simon Frogg now joined me in my shame by being labelled as an accomplice to a ‘white eyed’ corrupting villain. You convincingly played your ‘Noble Savage’ role as the cold rain returned you to a semblance of sobriety. Situations like this were not strange to me by then. What annoyed me was your bellowing in your corny Hollywood Indian jargon, “firewater’ is good ‘white eye’s medicine”. Brilliant acting, and it conveyed the desired message to the religious onlookers that Simon Frogg and I were to blame for your inebriated state. I should be glad that Carl managed to stagger away from the dock when we arrived without falling off the float like you did … if that had happened I likely would have been arrested on the spot.

As it was, your native cunning and survival instincts saw the advantage of the Big Trout Lake situation and you adopted the guise of a devout Christian, an action that added another dark smug on your soul. Fortunately the Bishop of Keewatin was later made aware that you were still involved in painting craven images depicting your peoples’ pagan beliefs (prohibited by the early Jesuit missionaries and founders of the current Christian Union). He eventually realized that you were not the devout Christian you claimed to be, this no doubt strengthened by the high ‘evaporation’ rate of his communion wine stock during the time he housed and fed you. I must admit that the ‘fall out’ from your earlier combined actions, encouraged and sustained by Carl Ray and others native artists, led to my being sent abroad on R&R. After which I was recalled to my soul collecting duties when you started acting up again. I’m relating all this to you because I can’t face a repeat of the 1960-70 horrors you imposed on a friendly Satan’s acolyte and an outstanding person like Simon Frogg.

You drove poor Jack Pollock mad, broke Bud Thomas’s faith in native Canadians, destroyed Paul Bennett’s reputation, turned Lassy Malowany into a bitter woman, embarrassed me in the eyes of Shelia Lavack by turning a North Bay I.O.D.E. ladies art show into mayhem. Your appearance in an intoxicated as the guest artist wearing only one shoe and tight jeans with an open fly, has become an I.O.D.E. legend. But what is hard to overlook, or forgive, is that you turned the pacifist Angie Littlefield into an avid ‘woman’s rights advocate’. You also managed to complicate my life further by casting me into the path of a sympathetic Swedish missionary lady when I was soul searching in Africa. She mistakenly saw me as ‘a burnt out case’ like the one in Graham Greene’s novel and decided to save my soul. Now I’m bent on obtaining retribution between my houseboy and dog boy duties on her estate. This will be achieved through contributing to an expose novel about your formative art years titled (I hope) No! No! Morrisseau. I will dedicate it to Simon Frogg to honour his support in the Big Trout Lake odyssey. I should have realized from the start that were a budding terrorist. This fits in with Satan’s master plan that will lead to your nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. The naive Norwegian Committee responsible for that prestigious award are noted for choosing terrorists recipients. That, and being a famous native Canadian terrorist will make you a ‘shoo-in’. Satan has indicated he will use his influence with the Norwegian Nobel Committee to ensure you receive the nomination, He, with a few acolytes like myself, look forward to attending your Nobel Laureate dinner. I think you should also invite Simon Frogg considering how you were responsible for his nervous breakdown.

Please accept this letter as a forewarning about the plan to chronicle the most important years of your artistic development. My revelations may aspire First Canadians to seek an antithesis to you as a role model. Few, in any case, would be gifted with sufficient terrorist genes to walk in your moccasins for three moons as some native sage prescribed. I hope the kind nurse you ‘con’ into reading this Christmas letter won’t have her dream of following in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale shattered, I close this note by wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous (Terrorist) New Year. If I hear on the news that there is panic on the streets of Nanaimo or Toronto, I will know you are on the rampage again. I will then hasten to find refuge in some obscure part of the Andes where I am told Simon Frogg is hiding. No! I won’t give you the exact location, I only mentioned the Andes to lead you astray. Keep well and I hope to see you soon. Don’t expect anything from Santa. He has been informed about your past sins. Gabe and Michele have also informed him about your current behaviour. So it’s no presents again this year!
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Warm regards,

Robby
Prague, Czech Republic
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Note: Originally published in edited/shorthened version as "No, No Morrisseau" at www.angielittlefield.com.
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* The painting in this posting: "Christ", 2-3, 37"x23", © 1976 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spiritual Paintings of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)

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"Spiritual Unity of Man, Fish, Serpent and Moose"
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Power line connecting spirits represents Circle of Life but it could also represent interdependency among the Four Orders of Creation. Four division circles represent four cardinal directions but it could also represent the Four Seasons or the Human Cycle of Infancy, Youth, Adulthood and Old Age. Division circle itself represents all dualities of the world: good and evil, man and woman, day and night, weak and strong etc. Brown colour represents presence of Mother Earth.
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To show that Norval Morrisseau's art can have more than just one meaning it could be also experienced by some viewers as representation of "Artist's struggle between good and evil" or "Man in Harmony with Nature".
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Spirit Walker
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Note: There is no any specific way to describe the Art of Norval Morrisseau. The description included herein is just one way of experiencing his art. His art can be experienced in so many different ways depending of the subject matter and the knowledge and spiritual inspiration of the viewer.
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"This is 200th posting of the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG that have been living for the last 6 months and having more than 6,200 unique visitors in just little bit less than 3 months." THANK YOU ALL FOR VISITING THE BLOG & EXPERIENCING COMPLEX LIFE, BODY OF WORK AND CONTROVERSIES OF THE GREAT COPPER THUNDERBIRD a.k.a. NORVAL MORRISSEAU
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* Detailed information about the painting in this posting unknown: © c. 1970s Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Friday, May 23, 2008

NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG Continues Honouring Norval Morrisseau & His Legacy

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"THE FAMILY", c. 1990s, © Norval Morrisseau
/Collection of Gabor and Michele Vadas/
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The above painting representing Norval Morrisseau, Gabor, Michele and Robin was one of the paintings that caused one of many moments that Blog Master of NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG had to deal with with dignity, perseverance and true convictions that Honouring the Great Copper Thunderbird sometimes may cause "little discomfort" especially if some of the readers are not appreciating and understanding his true intentions.
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On April 25th, 2008 I had posted "STORIES BEHIND THE PAINTINGS (Great Life Adventures of Norval Morrisseau) - Part I" where I presented the story about Norval Morrisseau's life and his relationship with Gabor Vadas' Family. If you read the posting (click on the link above) you will be also able to read the comments that followed the writing in question where someone confronted me with request to remove the image of "The Family" painting due to the copyright infringement and that action was to follow (please, read the posting stated above before proceeding).
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Upon removing the image in question from the posting, Bryant Ross of the "Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery" contated me on April, 26th, 2008 with the following e-mail:
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"Hi Spirit Walker,
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I am writing you to let you know that who ever hassled you about posting the image 'The Family' is not the true copyright holder. Gabe Vadas is the holder of all copyright. When I saw the blog entries that threaten action against you it sounded wrong to me, so I got a hold of Gabe to ask him why he would do this. He did not know anything about it. Who ever posted the copyright complaint is not the legal holder of copyright. I do not understand why someone would do this. I do not know who it is. Do you?
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Gabe has told me that you can re-post the picture if you want. He does not see anything disrespectful in your using pics of Norval's work and does not want to block you from using them.
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Cheers,
Bryant Ross - Coghlan Art"
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I replied to him on April, 26th, 2008 with the following e-mail:
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"Thanks Bryant,
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From now for any treaths regarding copyright issues I will act upon receiving legitimate e-mail directed to me directly at spiritwalker2008@gmail.com.
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Thanks again and say Gabe and Michele that I just wanted to recognize their hard work taking care of Norval for many years by posting this article and image. There are many things that I might not agree with what I heard about him but I like to judge a person based on my personal experience. All of this what I am doing is for true respect to Norval and people that were closely associated with him and still are. If in the future is proven that I was wrong regarding to many controversial issues I will publicly apologize to the all parties involved.... until then I will write what I believe is just and write as per my mission statement posted just below the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG title.... All the best.... I truly appreciate your e-mail... Tell Michele and Gabe that if for whatever reason they would like to use this platform to send a message to the wide audience of Norval Morrisseau admirers I am giving them all the freedom to express themselves via this blog if they wish to do so....
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Talk to you soon.... SW "
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Summary: As presented above it can be clearly understood that current copyright owner Gabor Vadas, via Mr. Bryant Ross, had given me permission to use images of Norval Morrisseau paintings to be presented herein on NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG.
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Note: I would like to thank to Mr. Bryant Ross for his action in good faith by communicating with me regarding the issue in question and also I would like to thank Mr. Gabor Vadas for giving me permission to use images of Norval's paintings on NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG. Even "we agree to disagree", the way Mr. Ross put it nicely into words, we are all doing our best to honour and continue honouring Norval Morrisseau and his contribution to the legacy of his people as well as to the preservation of his artistic legacy.
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To All,
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Keep placing your comments and do not be bothered with disagreements and controversies. Norval's life was full of controversies... and they keep coming and going.
Norval wouldn't like it any other way...
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I am sure he is smiling now from the Spirit World knowing that for centuries to come Canadians and humans (not only humans) alike will be talking about him.
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Let us put things in order and clear the disagreements - all in honour of Norval Morrisseau.
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Megwetch,
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Spirit Walker
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* Source: "The Family" - from "Coghlan Art Studio & Gallery", Aldergrove, British Columbia, Canada

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mr. Robert Lavack's Open Letter to Spirit Walker

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regarding Norval Morrisseau in the Blogosphere
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Mr. Robert Lavack in his home in Prague, Czech Republic-
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Dear Spirit Walker,
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Please feel free to post the revised edition of the "Morrisseau Christmas Letter" sent to Norval in December 2004. I wrote this on a "spur of the moment" urge after my meeting with Norval in Toronto at the Kinsman Robinson Gallery earlier that year. I noted "revised edition" because the original was done in a hurry and had a few typographic errors. I have a large file of letters that include correspondence from Norval, Harriet, Victoria, Josh Kakegamic, politicians and others that contributed to the early development of Norval. Through many of these one can discern a line of humor that was typical in the events that concerned Norval.
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The Morrisseau I read about in the various blogs is quite a different person from the one I knew during the 1960s and 1970s. He was no oracle spouting philosophical prose, but rather a person that displayed a unique humorous character that ofttimes ignored the consequences of his actions. He was a larconic/humorous mix that one could imagine playing Tonto as a co-star to the Lone Ranger in a Western comedy series. The only criticism I have about the blogs I've read to date is the tendency for some to deify Norval. This tends to place him in the same category of an over paid rock star or athlete that retains public adulation for brief periods and is soon forgotten. Norval was fortunate to be a creative artist that will be remembered as one of greats, and possibly one that used his artistic bent to further the recognition of his people. He wasn't alone in this endeavour because there are other North American Indians (I don't like the new demeaning political "First Nation" term) who have done this in the visual and literary arts. You have posted some of these outstanding individuals on your blog.
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Without passing any artistic judgement on the painting of Norval Morrisseau "Dance of the Weasels" that you have shown on your recent blog, it is a painting I can imagine Norval doing when he was in a humorous mood. Something I would like to buy if it was available and the price was right. When I saw it I burst out laughing because it gave me a brief glimpse of the old Morrisseau I knew. The "Dance of the Weasels" and the recent "Three Blind Mice" paintings would keep me laughing until I stepped off this planet.
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There are some excellent comments and evaluations of note that appear in the contributors' postings on your blog. I liked the Bryant Ross and Thunderbear888 (Michael R. Moniz) views on authentication. These were excellent. There is bound to be differences of opinion about this, but without the input of those that agree or disagree, we would never solve that problem. If I can convince myself a Mossisseau is authentic, by the old gut feeling formula, then I am happy to accept the painting as such. But that doesn't mean I would accept it fully unless I got an expert's advice and some hard provenance or authentication.
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So keep up the good work Spirit Walker. If I see any pertinent items on your blog, or other blogs, that relate to some of the letters I have on file, I would be happy to scan and sent these to the blog master to use as he/she wishes.
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All the best.
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Robert Lavack
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Note: "Morrisseau Christmas Letter" will be posted on 05/25/2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Correspondence between Norval Morrisseau and Mr. Robert Lavack (Part I)

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From Norval to Robby, 11-JAN-1972
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"Dance of the Weasels"
-© 1976 Norval Morrisseau
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For detailed handwriting analysis, of the
Norval Morrisseau's letter to Mr. Robert Lavack,
click on images below to enlarge:


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Note: Mr. Robert Lavack is co-author, with Hazel Fulford, of "The Morrisseau Papers" , published by Perdida Press in Thunder Bay in 2007
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* The painting in this posting: "Dance of the Weasels", 25"x22", © 1976 Norval Morrisseau /Private Collection/

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Art of Norval Morrisseau in Galleries and Museums Around the World (Part III)

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Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS)
/Halifax, Nova Scotia, CANADA/
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"Nature's Embryo", © 1975 Norval Morrisseau-

"Ojibway people consider Sun to be their Father and Earth to be their Mother. This painting represents fertility of Mother Earth with direct dependance on Father Sun represented as a phallic penetration inside of Mother Earth - spreading the seeds represented in the form of sacred corn and a human child as an embryo."-

Spirit Walker-

Note: There is no any specific way to describe the Art of Norval Morrisseau. The description included herein is just one way of experiencing his art. His art can be experienced in so many different ways depending of the subject matter and the knowledge and spiritual inspiration of the viewer.-

* The painting in this posting: "Nature's Embryo", size not known, © 1975 Norval Morrisseau /Collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, CANADA - Acrylic on board. Gift of John de Witt./

Monday, May 19, 2008

Victoria Day 2008

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"Victoria and Family", © 1978 Norval Morrisseau
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In Canada, the celebration of Victoria Day occurs every year on Monday, prior to May 25th. It is the official celebration in Canada of the birthdays of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Victoria Day was established as a holiday in Canada West (Now Ontario) in 1845, and became a national holiday in 1901. Before Victoria Day became a national Holiday, people had celebrated Empire Day , beginning in the 1890s as Victoria approached her Diamond jubilee in 1897. Victoria, queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and empress of India was born on 24 May 1819. She ascended the throne after the death of her uncle George IV in 1837 when she was only 18. She ruled until her death in 1901 when her son Edward the VII became king of England.
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*The painting in this posting shows a celebration of Norval Morrisseau's first grandchild from his daughter Victoria: "Victoria and Family", 59"x39", © 1978 Norval Morrisseau. Image of this painting can be found on page 153 in "The Art of Norval Morrisseau" /Sinclair, Lister, Jack Pollock, and Norval Morrisseau/ -Toronto, Ontario: Methuen, 1979./

A Brief Ojibway History (Part I)

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The Ojibway or Ojibwa were of the Algonquin stock and are closely related to the Cree and Ottawa Nations. They were called Mississauga's by the early settlers. In the United States they call themselves Chippewa. The Algonquin's were the most widely spread of the First Nations People. They called themselves Anishinabag or Anishinabe which means " original men " Ojibway or Ojibwa comes from the Algonquin word "otchipwa" which means to pucker. (Their moccasins seams had a puckered up appearance which helped to keep out the snow ) It is easy to see where the name Chippewa comes from.
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They were not an agricultural people, but rather depended on fishing, hunting and the gathering of Wild Rice and cranberries. They discovered the secret of the maple tree and made Maple Sugar. They lived in Wigwams or a version of the Tipi, which was covered with bark mats. They excelled in basket and mat weaving, and made the Birch Bark Canoe , which became the transport method of choice by the French Fur Traders.
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They were more independent than the Haudenosaunee, had a version of the Clan System, but did not engage in inter-tribal celebrations. Their name for God was Monedo or Manitou. The Mississauga drove the Seneca; out of southern Ontario in the late 1600's. At one point in time, the ( 'Ojibway'/ Mississauga ) controlled the entire area we call the "Golden Horseshoe".
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By the late 1700's almost all the Aboriginal Peoples had moved from this area driven out by logging and increased white settlement. The treaties had robbed them of their land and lifestyle. They had never been defeated in war with the English; in fact they were allies and in the end were betrayed by the English Military Government. The promised Sovereignty for First Nations never came and remains denied to these First Canadians even now.
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Harvey Kirsch
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* Photography: Author unknown

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Art of Norval Morrisseau in Galleries and Museums Around the World (Part II)

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National Museum of the American Indian
/George Gustav Heye Center, National Museum of the American Indian,
Smithsonian Institution, New York, New York USA/
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"The Wanderers", © 1985 Norval Morrisseau
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"Today we wonder and are distracted by the white man's ways that we cannot cope with. Those of us who are lucky have made it. But a lot of us are still behind, by trying to live like our white brothers and their religion, ignoring our great ancestors' culture. If one has an intelligent mind we could live side by side with our ancient ways and same time get us where we should be."
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Norval Morrisseau
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* The painting in this posting: "The Wanderers", 42"x53", © 1985 Norval Morrisseau /Collection of the George Gustav Heye Center, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, New York, New York USA/