MISHIBINIJIMA's support to Mr. Joseph McLeod and to the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG
"Earth Child", © James A. Simon MISHIBINIJIMA
"The late Norval Morrisseau was a man who began the Woodland Art Movement in Canada not knowing he'll carve out a path for Native culture in Canada and beyond.
Mishibinijima is a second generation artist from Northern Ontario and had the pleasure of meeting Norval Morrisseau at The McMichael's Canadian Art Collection art gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario in 1974.
I fully support the people that stand behind the legacy of Norval Morrisseau's and to bring peace to the ones that have concerns towards his works of art."
"THIS POST HAS BEEN FULLY APPROVED BY MR. JAMES A. SIMON MISHIBINIJIMA, NEXT TO DAPHNE ODJIG AND ALEX JANVIER, THE GREATEST LIVING ARTIST OF THE WOODLAND (ANISHINAABE) ART MOVEMENT."
Norval Morrisseau Blog's endorsment by Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane
"Pisces Princess", 48"x36", © 1988 Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane
~ This painting was created by Norval Morrisseau especially for Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane, her birthday being in late February
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“As a long time collector of works by Norval Morrisseau (since the late 1980’s) I would like to say how much I enjoy the in-depth profile of the artist, Norval Morrisseau featured on Ugo Matulić’s (Spirit Walker) Norval Morrisseau Blog.
Because of his noble pursuit of the artist’s legend, I granted Spirit Walker permission to use the images and quotes from my book, 'My Year with Norval Morrisseau'. This was the first time I agreed to share these words and images - my small contribution to assist Spirit Walker in his quest to venerate Norval, his life and body of work.
Mr. Matulić is also attempting to clarify some of the market confusion with regard to the question of authenticity surrounding some of the artist’s creations.
Mr. Matulić is presenting to all, especially Morrisseau enthusiasts and collectors, a perspective that would be lost if not for his continual devotion and seeking of truths with regard to Norval’s life and work.
I endorse Spirit Walker, his efforts, his determination, his Norval Morrisseau Blog, and hope his good intentions will prevail.”
Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane
Collector and Author
SOURCE OF IMAGE: An INTRODUCTION for the book "My Year With Norval Morrisseau" (1987-1988) [ISBN: 978-0-9783627-0-6] by Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane (Used with permission) © London Galleries 2007
* The acrylic painting above: "Pisces Princess", 48"x36", © 1988 Bonnie Edwards Kagna MacFarlane. Image Copyright in accordance with an agreement with Norval Morrisseau, June 11, 1988.
Norval Morrisseau Portrait by Susan Murar
Portrait of Norval Morrisseau
Portrait (White clay): 8'-0" x 3'-6" x 2'-2" (Height x Width x Depth)
* Inquires from patrons and cultural institutions wordwide are welcomed-
It takes great strength to live this life, to incorporate a vision that one believes in with all one's heart- something that one feels is important beyond all other considerations. Norval Morrisseau had this vision despite the controversy that he produced with his life. He had an interior strength that never gave up, a vision that he must leave us with his paintings - his gifts.
I hope that "Spirit Walker" with his vision to document Norval's life in its most significant moments (and the small details) finds the same strength that Norval found, to continue to work on this enclyclopaedic volume of knowledge on the internet, his blog to Honour Norval Morrisseau. It is no less than a gift to humanity. Gifts in our lives have a beauty that we cannot often see, Norval knew this as he travelled to the House of Invention to bring us our special gifts of beauty in his paintings.
We are learning more about Norval and his gifts of such immense beauty because of "Spirit Walker". I doubt that Norval Morrisseau would say anything other than, "Blessings Be".
Susan Murar, Sculptor
BA, MFA, AOCAD
~ Currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden (2013)
"... I must admit that without your excellent research and general perseverance the Morrisseau Story would have not been told in its true form. The abuse you had to suffer for this amazes me and the fact that you continued on this task is commendable. So keep up the good work and try to be more forgiving to the Vadas family. I'm sure Norval would want that."
Partial comment by Mr. Robert Lavack posted on
Robert Lavack - (b. 1920) has been, among other things, a bomber pilot in the Second World War, a flying geologist, an employee of the Ontario Department of Education, and a member of the World Health Organization's drive to eradicate smallpox.
"Thunderbird", © 2009 Bruce Morrisseau
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"I guess it's about time I introduce myself to you; though you might already know who I am. My name is Bruce Morrisseau. I am the second eldest son to Bernard, Norval’s brother.
I have been following your blog that has honoured and upheld the spirit of my uncle's legacy. I am very impressed with your level of dedication and respect for the Woodland School of Art and his founder, the Grand Shaman of the Ojibway - Norval Morrisseau…
... Also, I am impressed that you have maintained working on the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG in spite of all that has surfaced in the name of those that would rape, desecrate, and take advantage of Mother Earth."
~ For other high resolution images of the genuine Bruce Morrisseau's paintings allowed to be posted on this blog click HERE & HERE.
* The acrylic painting on canvas above: "Thunderbird", © 2009 Bruce Morrisseau
Others about NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG (Part VII) - Ryan McKellar
"Wood Duck", © 1990 Isaac Bignell Estate
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To Whom It May Concern;
I came to know Ugo Matulic, also known as Spirit Walker on his internet website, in 2007 as my co-worker on an industrial construction project in southern Alberta. While Ugo’s profession may be piping design, it did not take long before I realized that his true passion is the arts. Ugo has a true appreciation and enthusiasm for artwork, and in particular, the artwork of Norval Morrisseau.
As a co-worker and friend, Ugo has spent a great deal of time explaining to me the depth and complexity of Morriseau’s art: the messages behind the paintings; the intricacies of the brush strokes; the life of the artist and its visual effect on the art; the cultural significance of the artwork to the Ojibway peoples and to the people of Canada.
There are very few people in this world that exhibit a passion for the arts as Ugo Matulic does for the artwork of Morrisseau. While Ugo has amassed a sizeable personal collection of the artwork, his true passion is not obtaining artwork, but rather educating the public on the brilliance of this iconic Canadian painter. Ugo began his intenet blog on Norval Morriseau in 2007 when we first met, and considering the tireless late night hours he invested into this website while still performing his daytime profession; it became very apparent to me that Ugo’s passion is to showcase and educate the public on Morriseau’s artwork. The number (and quality) of posts that Ugo has posted on his website is indicative of the appreciation, and personal knowledge and understanding that Ugo has for the artwork.
It should further be stated that Ugo’s fervour for promoting the work of Morriseau has never been for financial gain. In all the hours I have spent discussing the artwork with Ugo, never once has the topic of finance entered into the conversation. Nor have I ever felt pressure to purchase artwork from Ugo. Our conversations have always been limited to the beauty and significance of the artwork. I consider him a purist admirer of Morriseau’s work.
I am a Canadian, bred and born, who had never been educated on the cultural gem that is Norval Morrisseau until I met my Croatian friend Ugo. What a shame that as a Canadian I was previously oblivious to this prolific artwork. I am grateful for my friendship to Ugo; in that he opened my eyes to such a Canadian treasure.
Ryan McKellar, P.Eng
62 Chaparral Close
* The acrylic painting on paper above: "Wood Duck", © 1990 Isaac Bignell Estate; PROVENANCE: Acquired direclt from the artist by Mr. Anthony Martinenko, an art dealer from Winnipeg, Manitoba CANADA /Private Collection/
Others about NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG (Part VIII) - Zhaawano Giizhik
"Imaginative mind is like an endless sky"
"Ogichidaa Gikinawaaji`owin" (Mark of the Warrior)
- sterling silver, turquoise & red coral belt buckle, © Zhaawano Giizhik
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"As an artist who himself draws much inspiration from Miskwaabik Animikii (Norval Morrisseau) and the Anishinaabe culture and beliefs he represented, I've known Ugo for a couple of weeks. So far, our conversations have been restricted to only a couple of telephone calls and an occasional e-mail, yet I cannot but full-heartedly agree with Mr. Ryan McKellar about his observations and opinion of him. I also agree with Mr. McKellar that it is a shame (or at least ironic) that it is often an outsider who has to confront a people with their own (often uncomfortable and painful) history, or open their eyes to a treasure trove of things they never even knew it existed. But I guess only an outsider can provide a people with a broad and truly unbiased version of what has been going - and still goes on - right under their noses. In my opinion passion-driven people like Ugo Matulic, as they more often than not are misunderstood or even rudely ignored by mainstream society, deserve to be regarded as heroes of our time for bringing out the truth.
Ugo Matulic is a modern-day warrior in the best tradition of the Peoples and artists he is devoting his life to."
Source: A comment for 'Others about NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG (Part VI)'
>>> Reference links:
~ Zhaawano Giizhik's Website,
~ Zhaawano Giizhik's Blog &
~ Zhaawano Giizhik's Twitter..
Open Letter to the NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG by Mr. David Barnes of Brampton, Ontario
"The Great Creator", 23"x96", © 1976 Norval Morrisseau,
* Exhibited at Mr. David Barnes' home, Brampton, Ontario CANADA
PROVENANCE: Randy Potter Estate Auctions, Port Hope, ONTARIO
AUTHENTICATION/APPRAISAL: Mr. Galal Helmy, Jasper ALBERTA
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~ Click HERE, HERE & HERE to see detailed images of the front of artwork - a title and artist's signatures in Cree syllabics and English
"2011, Norval Morresseau Remembered"
"Dear Spirit Walker,
I have been watching from the sidelines for years, But now I think its time to say a few things.
I have travelled this land from coast to coast every year for almost 10 years now. I've stopped in a hundred stores that have said "Native Art" on their signs and have been thoroughly discussed with 99% of them.
But I've found a few gems and... well let's just say I've become very good friend with the gallery owners.
I have never missed the Toronto Pow-Wow in 10 years. I sat as the Captain of the hunt for the MNO for 10 years.
I am a Registered Interior Designer who graduating in 2000 with honours and a FIDER accreditation. I am registered with A.R.I.D.O. and N.C.I.D.Q.
My Grandmother was born in Tiny township in Ontario. I am of Ojibway Heritage.
Over the years I've been lucky enough to become a collector, not just a lover of Native art, with a very large and diverse portfolio.
There are certain artists I am drawn to, in order of importance they are:
1) Norval Morrisseau ( I have been in galleries were I've have seen his art "shake"... its quite an experience),
2) Travis and Arthur Shilling (music for the eyes),
3) David Beaucage Johnson ( I am in awe of his "Continuum line" work) &
4) Leland Bell (Every coloured dot has a meaning!).
I am deeply concerned, there seems to be a war going on with Norval Morrisseau's hierarchy, and to say the least... Auction houses are refusing to hold his art, everyone has become suspicious of whether or not they have a "fake" or an "authentic" Norval Morrisseau's artwork!
What are we doing doing to ourselves?
This is sad, what are we doing to the legacy of this great artist! Have we forgotten how important he is for Canada and what he gave to this World?
I have an 8ft long painting by Norval Morrisseau titled "The Great Creator" over my couch. No matter how many times I move, it always finds its place in the centre of my living space. Wow, that's something for an interior designer to say! It takes a GREAT work of art to ground itself into one's living space. For me this great art is Norval Morrisseau's!
Norval Morresseau WAS the greatest artist that EVER came out of Canada, possibly the greatest COLOURIST in the world and one of the strongest souls the creator ever allowed to enter a body!
This year, let's try to turn our energy into promoting this Great artist of the world."
David Barnes, Brampton, Ontario
Others about NORVAL MORRISSEAU BLOG (Part V) - David B. McNab
"Untitled" (The Trout Dream Legend), © c. 1960s
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"The fish, sacred trout, was the most respected of all fish. The trout gave the Indian life in abundance and according to Ojibwa Indian mythology it represented his soul carrier. The trout carried the Indian soul through transmigration into an other existence in the supernatural or reincarnation. All this belief worked for the betterment of the Indian food in reality - faith in the supernatural."
Artist promoter said...
Thank you for the obvious effort and dedication you have put into this site. By browsing from the beginning I have gained a much clearer sense of the artist's style and the "feel" of his work. The technical articles are also very informative.
The disputes concerning this artist's work are very unfortunate and I believe damaging to his legacy. In my view it is fine for a party to assert that they have authenticated a work if they have been able to do so. Casting doubt on the authenticity of works not authenticated by themsleves, however is not helpful and may be harmful both to the owners of the artworks and to the legacy of the artist.
I am moved to suggest that the galleries, dealers and collectors who own work should collaborate on an archive rather than divisively casting doubts on the property of others.
I have had personal experience with some of the characters in this drama (that is the dispute, not the artist!) and must say that some appear to be trying to maximize their inventory values rather than serve the collecting community. My own experiences range from having a very early work I personally know to be authentic dismissed out of hand as uninteresting, being told without provenance authenticated by the specific dealer the piece was not worth considering, being told that the party would not be interested in looking at it unless I was selling - three Toronto "experts", not one of them gave a damn about the work itself, which is exceptionally beautiful and powerful. I contrast these experience with my initial contact with you, Spirit Walker, who called me from Alberta on the strenght of a poor quality photo and provided me with more insights into the meaning and artistic merit of my piece than all the other experts combined. It is easy for me to judge intent from actions.
Thank you for this resource. It is valuable to me and doubtless many others.
David B. McNab
14 December, 2009 21:18 --
Source: A comment for the post: "Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.3''
* The acrylic painting on paper above: "Untitled", 10"x13", © c. 1960s Norval Morrisseau; PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the artist by Dr. G. Harvey Agnew - Private collection of Mr. David B. McNab, Ontario CANADA (Ref.: http://mcnabs.net/v/house/morriseau.jpg.html)
Collectors Speak... (Part I) - Halyna Klidx
"Spirits of the Mountains" by Simone McLeod
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Norval's footsteps blazed a trail for us all
"When I began painting in the mid-nineties it was quite the experience to sit and feel a heavy heart at what I believed to be "revealing the ceremonial secrets of my people". It was then that I recalled hearing about Norval Morrisseau.
I remember that when I heard others speaking of him they always seemed to be focused on his subject and less on him as the growing father of the first nations art movement. I cannot imagine how alone and in turmoil he may have been in feeling this need to share the "old ways" publicly. Perhaps he was before his time in seeing that one day, media outlets would be thee best way to reach out and help our lost peoples recognize the spirituality of his work and therefore begin the stirrings to search within ourselves and find the spirit memory that has been our way since the sun first shone.
I as an artist and as an Anishinaabe woman, will be forever indebted to him for reawakening within me, my path, my memories, my history and my duty as a storyteller and artist and to carry on, on the road he started walking down. His footsteps blazed a trail that will be forever easier for the next one who chooses to follow it."
Meeting Ugo Matulic
My mother was very artistic when I was growing up. My sister just recently shared with me, how my mother sat us down at the table one day and proceeded to nurture the inner artists that she believed each of us was born with. I loved it from the beginning. I would watch my beautiful mother paint or sketch with pencil crayons the most beautiful images. She even took burned out embers from the wood stove and showed me how to use it as charcoals. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.
Over the course of many years, as we all grew older, I watched as we all struggled with the aftermath of the residential school era. It did not matter if we went to the schools or not for the schools had a way of reaching into our homes to choke our culture out of us and replace it with just trying to survive.
It's this survival technique that I recognize in my peoples artwork immediately. I know where it stems from and I feel it reaching inside me as it demands recognition. I'm no longer only an artist, I've become one who can understand and feel in art, things a lot of others can only see.
I reflect back now to a time two years ago when I met Ugo Matulić for coffee. I didn't know anything about him and I'm glad for that. The reason is simple. To listen to or indulge in idle gossip about others sets you up to not get a chance to see who a person really is.
He's turned out to be a very good and respectful friend. I've never met a person more open minded to learning and understanding aboriginal people as people first. His lack of preconceived notions and harsh judgments allows him to keep his mind and his heart opened to building strong and loyal relationships with others.
A few months ago I joined him in his condo in downtown Calgary. We talked a lot over the years about his love for First Nation Artists work and his fondness for Norval Morrisseau. Needless to say, as an artist myself, with my love for artists and the unique way each expresses his or herself through their chosen mediums, we've talked for many many many hours over many many many meetings.
As I entered his condo, my breath caught in my throat. The Morrisseau's on the walls enhanced by great lighting were so vibrant and so full of life. It was obvious to me that this man has a great deal of respect for Norval. It became more obvious his vast knowledge was gained through diligence and researching this great artists work as we sat and I got to see the true depth of his collection.
I had warned him that I like to touch the paintings and close my eyes and let my fingers take me back to when the pieces were being created. I think he knew that I would be very careful and I was extremely happy and honoured when he agreed that I can feel the textures of the paints.
As he rolled out canvas after canvas, I touched each piece carefully and could feel how Norval applied the paints. I could feel emotions building inside me as I could see each story hiding inside each piece. Big canvasses, medium canvasses, arches watercolour paintings, birch bark paintings, even very early works where inks or pencil crayons were applied to very old pages from primary school books.
I began to recognize the brush strokes, the similarities of application. The finger tip eyes, the deep need to lay down the colour without worry about the translucency of the paint. I recognized this the most because as an artist myself, I take great pains in reapplying coats until the colours are true and saturated.
What intrigued me the most was the early works on the primary papers leading into the birch bark paintings. It was a though he had his visions or spirit memory begin so early and fast that he just had to get these first images onto a medium, any medium so that he would not risk losing them by the act of living and surviving. I saw many variations of the earlier visions grow and transform into larger images on canvasses and other mediums later on in his career.
I was so honoured and so humbled to see how Ugo had acquired a record in chronological order, the growth of Norval Morrisseau throughout his career. It was amazing to see that each piece had been signed on the backs in black and some were also signed in pencil and quite a few ink drawings were not signed in English at all, only in syllabics on the front. Some early works were just signed with his initials NM.
The ones with sentiments to the piece contained short writing at time and provided me with insight as to what he was thinking. He must have been a very interesting man indeed. What a privilege to have been given the opportunity to take that journey.
"Ugo, these words I sent you are the truth. The love and respect I have for you can be written but only with care. You're really amazing Ugo. Your passion is the most beautiful thing about you. While I see it on your face when you're holding a Morrisseau, what I understand about your heart after getting to know you is like poetry."
(ART BLOG I) &
(ART BLOG II).