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New Norval Morrisseau Donation to MOA

2016.012.004
Shaman Motifs by Norval Morrisseau

By: Christie Dreise

This past month, MOA was provided the opportunity to acquire a new artwork collection which includes two artworks by renowned artist Norval Morrisseau: Discipline and Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan (1975).

Discipline, a colourful serigraph, depicts two larger than life faces in profile nose to nose, almost touching each other in an intense confrontation. Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan (1975), an original acrylic painting, reveals a unique figure from the waist up filling the entire canvas. He is an intense, bright, and engaging presence.

Norval Morrisseau can be described as one of the most recognisable painters in Canada. Morrisseau is Anishinaabe and was born on the Sandy Point Ojibway reserve. He was the influential founder of the Woodland School of painting. The Woodland School courageously and controversially presented traditional Anishinaabe icons and legends through the Western media of easel painting and printmaking. Morrisseau painted for more than 50 years and inspired many to give a visual voice to their cultural images and stories.

Morrisseau learned the icons and images associated with his grandfather’s knowledge. His grandfather, Moses Potan Nanakonagos, was an Ojibwa shaman who taught him the teachings of the Midewiwin. Oral tradition is a key part of the passing of this knowledge, but Morrisseau became the first Eastern Woodland artist who depicted and presented his culture through art in painting and printmaking.

His artwork drew from several influences during the course of his life and reflected his self-development, culture and spiritual beliefs. His influences include:  Indigenous cultures and tensions with Christianity; Anishinaabe decorative arts; Shamanism; Midewiwin scrolls; Rock paintings; Spirituality; The duality of the Soul and Body; Family; and the relationship between all living things.

Morrisseau produced acrylic and oil paintings, prints, and drawings.  His artworks are found in numerous institutions and collections across Canada such as The National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, Ontario. His artwork combines intense colours, flowing lines and semi-abstract figures, which can be seen in the two works donated to MOA. He passed away in December 2007.

2016.012.003
Discipline by Norval Morrisseau

As mentioned earlier, Discipline is a serigraph, which means that Morrisseau screen-printed it in layers on paper.  The bold yellow background would have been printed first, and then the colourful layers of the figures were printed on top. This work is from an edition of 93 prints, which gives a sense of the laborious working process, as well as the unique quality of print-making for distribution. The graphic images created by flat fields of colour is a quality of the print-making process, but is also part of Morrisseau’s own creative way of seeing the world.

The graphic quality of colour defined by shapes, often organic, is also felt in Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan (1975). This acrylic painting’s bold and commanding figure is created by building bright colours between black outlines. Morrisseau signed his work with Cree syllabics on Shaman Motifs Mohawk Clan, in the pen name for the Anishnaabe name he has been honoured with – Copper Thunderbird.

Morrisseau is an important and influential Anishinaabe painter who has made vibrant pieces about his cultural viewpoint and stories, and they remain filled with life and vitality today.

 

References

CBC Arts. “Iconic Canadian painter Norval Morrisseau dies at 75” CBC News, December 5, 2007. Accessed November 25, 2016. http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/iconic-canadian-painter-norval-morrisseau-dies-at-75-1.648773.

Norval Morrisseau Entry. “Biography,” Wikipedia. Accessed November 25, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norval_Morrisseau.

“Teachers Resource Guide,” MacKenzie Art Gallery, p. 15-16, 2013, accessed July 26, 2016, http://www.mackenzieartgallery.ca/admin/aMediaBackend/original?slug=7-pniai-teacher-resource-guide&format=pdf.

Beadwork with Dakota Ireland

Dakota Ireland

Shekoli/Hello, my name is Dakota (Kalo:loks) Ireland.

I do a lot of different beadwork, but mostly jewelry such as rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces/medallions. The main beading style that I use is peyote stitch (also known as gourd stitch) and it is a particular style of weaving.

I come from the Oneida Nation of the Thames and my clan is Bear. I have been working with the Museum of Ontario Archaeology for two and a half years now. I was the curator for The Story of Our Grandfathers: Our Original Medicine exhibition from May-August 2014 and the assistant curator for the On^yota’a:ka: ukwehuwenekha’ khale’/miinwaa Anishinaabemowin language exhibition that is currently on display at the museum.

2 row set

The peyote stitch was originally used by the Kiowa and Comanche tribes from the South.  It is similar to the brick stitch where only one bead is used at a time. Each First Nation tribe has their own signature style of beadwork. I am not using the style of beadwork that comes from my people.  I learned the peyote style of beadwork because I like it.   Being able to share amongst each other is how traditions get passed on. It is important to acknowledge where the original style or craft comes from.

The Peyote stitch can be used for many different things – decorating pipes, drum sticks, whistles, and lighters.  It can also be made into jewelry like rings, bracelets, and earrings. Since using this style of beading can be time-consuming, it is best to start with rings, bracelets, or decorating around something small like a lighter. The video will show you the basic stitch of peyote style. Once you have the basic stitch down, then the possibilities are endless with what you can do with it!

It is during times of beading when we share stories, sing, or just be in tranquility. It is important to put good energies and love into your beaded project!

I find that beading is calming and therapeutic. It is a great way to relieve stress and calm the mind. I love beading!  I would like to share the joy of beading and will be planning a workshop at the museum in the future. Before the workshop, I will be offering a drop-in beading session on Sunday, June 5th. If you have any questions, want to see the style, or try it out before signing up for a workshop, feel free to drop by! If you are interested in taking part in a workshop, please CLICK HERE to let us know and we’ll be sure to let you know when the workshop is scheduled.

Yaw^’ko:/thank you!

thunderbird bracelet

Artist Profile: Hugh Hill

Hugh Hill

Hugh Hill (Laka’tos), from the Oneida Nation, lives in St. Thomas, Ont. A drum maker for the past 18 years, Hugh has been making and sharing the traditional crafts he has been taught through his elders.  Attending and participating in traditional dance at many pow wows and traditional gatherings throughout the year (including MOA’s which takes place the third weekend in September) provides Hugh an expression of his native roots.
Hugh has been gifted many teachings.  Respectfully talking and listening to elders (among others) in his travels has contributed to the repertoire in his workshops. As with all of the teachings he has learned along the way, these teachings are to be passed along.
Through workshops on both traditional and social hand drums, traditional and social big drums (pow wow drums), the Medicine wheel and sewn rawhide rattles, these teachings are shared with both large and small groups. Hugh has worked in various locations across Ontario, Michigan and Quebec as well as special interest groups touring from Europe and Asia. Hugh continues to learn and teach; believing in passing along what his has been given and told.

Join us at our Family Day event on Monday, February 15th, when Hugh shares his teachings in a Medicine Wheel Teaching and Art Workshop. The Medicine Wheel represents all creation, harmony and connections.  Come and learn about the teachings and significance of the Medicine Wheel in Aboriginal culture in this interactive and family fun workshop. Each participant will paint their own Medicine Wheel art piece to take home.

Join Hugh Hill at his workshop will being offered at 11:00am-12:00pm and again at 2:00-3:00pm

Pre-registration recommended  (limited spaces available)
Cost: $15.00 for adults; $13.00 for children/youth (age 5-17) (includes admission to Museum)

More information on our Family Day event can be found here

More information on the Medicine Wheel