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THE NEXT 7 DAYS:     EVENTS (24)     +     OPENINGS (4)     +     DEADLINES (16)     +     CLOSINGS (11)
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Norval Morrisseau (Anishanaabe 1931-2007), Shaman and Apprentice, acrylic on canvas. Gift of Mr. Nicholas John Pustina, Mr. Robert Edward Zelinski, and Mr. Kenny Alwyn Whent, 1985

Norval Morrisseau opens at the Art Gallery of Hamilton
October 13, 2018 - March 17, 2019

Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) artist Norval Morrisseau’s (1931–2007) remarkably influential career began in the early 1960s and spanned over four decades. He is best known for his inventive images of Anishinaabe stories, which first fuelled his imagination as a child living on Sand Point Reserve, near Lake Nipigon in northwestern Ontario. Absorbing these stories and other forms of traditional knowledge over the years, Morrisseau developed a unique style of painting through which he vividly conveyed the Anishinaabeg’s deep spiritual ties to their traditional territory and all of creation. These ties are nourished by the traditional Anishinaabe values of respect, relationships, reciprocity, and responsibility, which pervade the works in this exhibition.

“I started taking a look at all the works by Morrisseau in the [AGH] collection and he focuses a lot on the interconnectedness of all creation and the importance of nature to Anishanaabe culture,” Says Tara Ng, Guest Curator of Norval Morrisseau. “Currently there are many Indigenous communities in Canada and throughout the world that are fighting to protect their land, so I wanted to connect Morrisseau’s work to these current issues.”

The exhibition is drawn entirely from the AGH Permanent Collection and the paintings included were likely created between 1980 and 1985. While Morrisseau continued to draw inspiration from traditional Anishinaabe culture during this period, in 1976 he had begun to move away from depicting stories after discovering a New Age movement called Eckankar. A synthesis of Eastern religions and philosophies, Eckankar revolves around the practice of soul travel as a means of spiritual development. By 1979, Morrisseau was describing himself as a shaman-artist; his paintings of people, plants, animals, and other natural phenomena represented visions he experienced when his soul travelled from the earthly realm to the astral plane above.

The works in this exhibition exemplify the transformative role that visions play within Anishinaabe culture—and Morrisseau’s profound belief in their power as catalysts for action. Delving into both Anishinaabe ways of knowing and Eckist teachings, this exhibition considers Morrisseau’s role as a shaman-artist whose spiritual visions promote positive environmental and cultural change based on the traditional Anishinaabe values of respect, relationships, reciprocity, and responsibility.

Organized by Guest Curator Tara Ng and made possible through the support of an Ontario Arts Council Culturally Diverse Curatorial Project grant.

#AGHMorrisseau

Learn more.

Art Gallery of Hamilton
123 King Street West,
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
artgalleryofhamilton.com
whatson@artgalleryofhamilton.com
905.527.6610

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Media Contact
Sarah Power, spower@artgalleryofhamilton.com 905.527.6610 x 255

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