Wednesday 14 December 2011

Brothers in Arms - Norval Morrisseau bridges the great divide - Brian Marion and Ritchie Sinclair

Brian Marion and Ritchie Sinclair
On the full moon eclipse of December 21 2010

Brian Marion taught me the lesson of never judge a book by its cover. A great artist he is indeed, but there was so much more to him than just his beautiful works of art. Brian the sociologist, the philosopher, the psychologist, the historian, the ideologist, the spiritualist, the psychiatrist, the behaviorist, the culturalist, the healer - the shaman. He knew so much about so many things. A unique and special soul he was. I will always cherish the times I got to hang out with you during my years spent in Yorkton. My heart is heavy. The world just lost something pretty special.

 “You have to learn to walk backwards and see the damage done, then walk forward and fix it. We have to rebuild our lives and our strength in this manner. This is not a dream, this is a reality; this is our life."

Brian Marion (2003)

Sunday 11 December 2011

Brian Marion (Oct. 6 1960 - Dec. 9 2011) Forever Thunderbird

Brian Marion, my beloved spiritual brother, left his worn body behind to fly free in timeless spirit on December 9 2011. He was deeply loved and appreciated by those who knew him. My heartfelt condolences to Brian's family and loved ones. I am so sorry for your loss. I cherished him too.


Brian Marion was born October 6, 1960 in Kamsack, Saskatchewan growing up amongst the Saulteaux and Cree of the Prairies and the Ojibway of the Northern Woodland of Ontario. In 1975 Brian began a nine-year apprenticeship with Norval Morrisseau, the internationally renowned Canadian Native Artist and founder of the Woodland School of Art.

In reference to Mr. Marion, the great artist has said, "During those years of training, Brian learned both the spiritualism of the Ojibway culture and the technique of Shaman art. As an artist he has learned to apply colour to forms that were derived, in part, from ancient pictographs still found in the central region of Canada. While he developed his artistic talents, he was taught to use the meanings of the legends as a basis for composition in his painting. He has acquired the knowledge from the visions of our people and has come to understand our close ties with nature. He is able to get inspiration from his native spirituality and with the blessing of the Creator, add his own emotional and intuitive interpretations to produce beautiful art."

Brian Marion’s many achievements include a show with Norval Morrisseau at First Canadian Place, a mural commissioned by the African National Congress "Mandela Free Leonard Peltier next?"’ and a mural "Rainbow World" for the Young People’s Theatre. Other accomplishments include his artwork featured in a music video with Robby Robertson, John Tridell and Buffy Ste. Marie, three books published by Prentice Hall/Ginn Publishing, and a poster commissioned by IKEA Canada.

In 1994 Brian was chosen to represent Canada at the 50th Anniversary D-Day Celebrations in Normandy, France. His work has been shown in Milan and at the Canadian embassy in Chicago, promoting aboriginal art as part of Canadian trade missions to these countries. His work is featured in many private and corporate collections around the world including that of the Prime Minister of Canada.

  • 1986 Two man show with Norval Morrisseau at First Canadian Place, Toronto
  • 1987 Solo Show at Beaches Cafe, Toronto
  • 1987 Solo Show at Avenue Road Cafe, Toronto
  • 1988 Group Show at Opera House, Orillia, Ontario
  • 1989 Solo Show at the Gotlieb Gallery, Toronto
  • 1989 Group Show at Nimkiis Gallery, Toronto
  • 1990 Group Show at Nimkiis Gallery, Toronto
  • 1990 Group Show, WOMAD, World of Music & Dance Festival, Toronto
  • 1991 Exhibit of large mural "Mandela-Free, Leonard Peltier next", Toronto
  • 1991 Group Exhibition at the O'Keefe Centre, Toronto
  • 1992 Group Show at Ontario Place, Toronto
  • 1992 Group Show at Buckingham Fine Art Gallery, Unionville
  • 1993 Solo Show at Gallery Louise Smith, Toronto
  • 1993 Solo Show at Gallery Louise Smith, Kennebunkport, Maine
  • 1993 Group Show at North American Indian Community House, New York
  • 1993 Solo Show at Volo Cafe, Toronto
  • 1994 Solo Show at Godfrey Dean Gallery, Yorktone, Saskatchewan
  • 1994 Group Show 'Exhibition of Nudes', Gallery Louise Smith, Toronto
  • 1994 Group Show at First Nations Art 94, Brantford, Ontario
  • 1994 Represented Canada at International Art Festival, Reviers, Normandy, France
  • 1996 Solo Show at Godfrey Dean Gallery, Yorkton, Saskatchewan
  • 1997 Group Show at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • 1997 Solo Show at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • 1999 Presentation of Mandela Free Leonard Peltier Next! mural to His Excellency, BIL Modise, High Commissioner for the Republic of South Africa, during a reception at Queensbury Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan COMMISSIONS:
  • "RainbowWold" mural Commissioned by Howard Mathews for RainbowWorld Musical. This mural was used as a backdrop for the musical featuring Salome Bey at the Canadian Pavilion during the Barcelona Olympics.
  • Mandela Free Leonard Peltier Next! 30' X 10' mural commissioned by the African National Congress.
  • "Communication" painting commissioned by IKEA International along with 1,200 prints that sold out.
  • "Spirit of the Bear" series of six paintings commissioned by Pimpernel Placemat Company.
  • As Protege Artist for the Arts Foundation of Greater Toronto, was commissioned to do a painting for Salome Bey.
  • Artwork used as background in a music special with Buffy Ste-Marie, Robby Robertson, John Tridell, and Chief Joseph
  • Artwork for two children's books - What's Hot? and The Five Moons of Winter commissioned by Ginn Publishing Co.
  • Artwork for Classic Canada publication Commissioned by Prentice Hall
  • Artwork commissioned for Sweetgrass Records company logo
  • Commissioned to paint a series of six murals for Cote First Nations School, Kamsack, Saskatchewan TRADE MISSIONS:
  • Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Sector European Buyers' Mission to Canada, Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, May 1997
  • Aboriginal Arts and Culture New Border States (NEBS) Trade Mission, Chicago, June 1997
  • Aboriginal arts and Crafts Trade Mission, Paris, France and Milan, Italy, Sept. 1997
  • "Missions of a Nation" painting included in the collection of the Prime Minister of Canada
  • Lily Munroe, former Minister of Citizenship and Culture 
  • Olympia and York, Toronto
  • Native Art's Foundation, Toronto
  • Cameco Corporation, Saskatoon
  • A Series of acrylics on paper are in the permanent collection of: * Algonquin College * Carleton University * Georgian College * Niagara College * University of Toronto * Yorkton Friendship Centre * Royal Ontario Museum * Saskatchewan Indian Federated College * White Mountain Academy * Yorkton Arts Council * Peterborough Arts Umbrella * Red River College * Algoma College * Numerous private, corporate and government collections.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Ojibwa Midawiin Sacred Bear (c. 1960) Norval Morrisseau

 Paul Robinson, Ritchie Sinclair & John Newman
discuss the Norval Morrisseau painting,  
"Ojibwa Midawiin Sacred Bear"
now on display at the Kinsman Robinson Galleries

The Norval Morrisseau exhibit now on display at KRG is more about essence than presence. Without large scale artworks awash in vibrant colour to over-stimulate we can better appreciate the subtleties of Morrisseau's composition and skill at finishing each piece.

Creating art and being in harmony were one and the same to Norval. The repose required to create his art was gifted to him in the act of creating it. His advice to other artists that, "Whatever happens, just paint, and know that all is well" was no platitude. It was his way of life and best advice to himself.

Morrisseau's hieroglyphic language is wondrously pure and exciting to discover. I enjoy discussing Norval's work with other enthusiasts whenever the opportunity arises. Many thanks to the staff at the Kinsman Robinson Galleries for making this little gathering happen. Hope to see (most of) you there!

Ojibwa Midawiin Sacred Bear
Norval Morrisseau
Acrylic on paper, 22x30inches, 55.88x76.2cm, c.1959-62

Sunday 27 November 2011

Morrisseau and the Superman Within (Dec 1, 2011) Ritchie Sinclair interprets Morrisseau art at the Kinsman Robinson Gallery

Morrisseau and the Superman Within
Ritchie Sinclair discusses Morrisseau and art from the exhibition
“Norval Morrisseau: Early Paper & Birch Bark”

Thursday, Dec 1, 2011 from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
(Part of the Yorkville Art Galleries "Gallery Walk")
At Kinsman Robinson Galleries
108 Cumberland St., Toronto

Saturday 19 November 2011

Norval Morrisseau: Early Paper & Birch Bark (2011) Another Sold-Out Exhibition at KRG

Mystical Thunderbird 
Norval Morrisseau
Acrylic on watercolour paper, 22" x 30", c.1960-64 

Today an exhibition of early Norval Morrisseau artwork on birch bark and paper opens at the Kinsman Robinson Galleries ("KRG") in Toronto. This exhibition comprised of 32 pieces has sold out prior to the opening, on the strength of KRG's reputation for guaranteeing the Morrisseau work that they sell is genuine.

In 1999 I wrote a book entitled, "Woodland Gold", to incite people to collect Woodland art in lieu of saving their paper money in banks. In 2011, with the global fiat money system on the brink of failing, both fine art and gold have become a welcome refuge for wealth. When I wrote that Morrisseau art would rise sharply in value as the economy deteriorated neither Norval nor I were aware that cottage industries creating counterfeit paintings of his work were already in full swing undermining my prediction.

In the autumn of 1999 I wished Norval safe travels and gave him a draft of Woodland Gold to read through while he and Gabe journeyed to Manitoulin Island for a healing ceremony. Upon arrival Norval was treated to an exhibition of counterfeit art attributed to him. Shocked, saddened and infuriated, Norval would spend the remaining years of his life doing what he could to stop the proliferation of inferior fake Morrisseau paintings from saturating the Canadian art market.

Today, with thousands of unsellable counterfeit Morrisseau paintings floating around, those in the know buy only from sources who provide clear provenance and who stand behind what they offer with firm guarantees.

The fact that exhibitions like this one opening today sell out underscores the value of authentic Morrisseau art which is priced well below its real market value. If I had millions to spend it would be gone already; on Morrisseaus.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Lisa and Christian - We have to be Child Like (1979) Norval Morrisseau

Lisa and Christian - We have to be Child Like
Norval Morrisseau
acrylic on canvas, 1979, 36" x 30"

In this 1979 painting Morrisseau portrays his youngest children, Lisa and Christian, to set an example for himself and others. He pictures them to remind us to continue to be childlike in both attitude and attention. The dream-vision of the human population is to seriously, joyfully; play.

This wonderful playful aspect of Norval's character underpinned everything he did, including his finest work. As a Bear he was formidable, or as a "Loon" he was...well, "loony" ...but as a rabbit; he was hilarious. Creative, delightful, curious, generous, trusting, turned on by a word, "childlike".

Norval's authentic painting entitled, "Lisa and Christian - We have to be Child Like" (1979) was not created to admonish his youngest children, though they might do well with some. It was painted to re-stimulate the child within the adult.

Christian Morrisseau, Norval's (now grown) son, is pictured here standing beside Bernice Morrisseau (Norval's niece), Barney Morrisseau (Norval's brother), Benji Morrisseau (Norval's nephew) and Victoria Kakegamic (Norval's eldest daughter). They pose beside a fake Norval Morrisseau painting displayed at the Artworld of Sherway gallery in Mississauga, Ontario.

In Jim Stevens' recent unauthorized biography about Norval Morrisseau he rightly discredits fake Morrisseau paintings of this genre yet Christian, Bernice, Barney, Benji and Victoria were all featured in his book. Were they all fooled into promoting this fake painting?

There are many Morrisseau relatives pretending to be artists, whether "disguised" as Norval Morrisseau or not. If, however, artistic genius and vision is a bloodline gift then where are the Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh relatives? I prefer to think of Norval as one of a kind.

Ronnie said it best..

Norval has always been somehow different from the rest of our family. He became a mystic beyond his control. He had visions which would mesmerize anyone who didn't believe his magic, because he knew he had the power. He is something both mysterious and complicated. Sometimes he seems to be in a trance or a hypnotic state, it is like he is in a different world.

Ronnie Morrisseau
about older brother Norval

Tuesday 1 November 2011

David searching for his Soul (1979) Norval Morrisseau

David searching for his Soul
Norval Morrisseau
acrylic on canvas, 30" x 50", titled verso in pencil, c. 1979

Waddington's Auctioneers sold this authentic Norval Morrisseau painting in 2009. The painting's title concerns Norval's eldest son, David Morrisseau, who has been painting and authenticating counterfeit Norval Morrisseau art for more than a decade.

Over the years Waddington's have auctioned off a plethora of quality Woodland artworks, including Morrisseaus. Understandably, in the past, Waddington's and other Canadian art venues, have been fooled into moving forgeries as well.

The undeniable truth about Morrisseau fakes has now been publicly accessible for several years. In today's climate, those selling purported Morrisseau paintings without provenance require assurance of authenticity from legitimate sources.

Waddington's know where to look to figure things out. They also know who to contact for confirmation on the authenticity of any purported Morrisseau paintings they may wish to auction off. The public has a cultural investment in this art. Responsible vetting is worth the effort, isn't it?

Perhaps not. Joyner's Waddington's appear intent on auctioning off yet another fake Morrisseau painting on November 25 2011. This painting, dated 1977, is obviously from the Gary Lamont sourced genre of forgeries often dated (though not painted) in the late 1970s. The auctioneers hope to bring in $10-15K for it but I hope that they rethink listing it. Nobody wants to buy a lemon.

After a few minutes training children can spot forgeries from this genre at a glance using flashcards. Why can't Waddington's?

Monday 31 October 2011

Artist Remembered as Great Shaman (2007) Norval Morrisseau Memorial "Gathering of the People"

A Statement by J. Santiago
at the Norval Morrisseau Memorial Gathering (Dec 8 2007)

This was such an honest recital from those who knew Norval so well. I feel that I can carry these funny, insightful and heartfelt stories with me tonight and to those that could not come and to those who have gone before.
For all our relations.
J. Santiago

Artist remembered as 'great shaman'.
Painters pledge to honour legacy of 'Picasso of the North'
by starting a native art school in his memory.

Friends, family and fans of the late Norval Morrisseau gathered last night to pay tribute to the Canadian artist who took native art and put it on the world stage in vibrant colour.

In a small auditorium in downtown Toronto, native elder Vern Harper and others who knew Morrisseau from his days as an artist living hand-to-mouth on the streets of Toronto spoke of the man heralded as "the Picasso of the North" as a spirited individual, well loved by all who knew him.

"Everyone recognized him as a great artist, but he was more than that. He was a great shaman.There won't be one like him in a thousand years," said Harper. "Just being in his presence when he was at his best or at his worst was a great honour."

Morrisseau, 75, died Tuesday at Toronto General Hospital after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. Harper, a long-time friend of Morrisseau, was joined by two artists who had been mentored by the experienced painter.

One of those artists, Ritchie Sinclair, said it's unfair for the media to "lift him up here and they put him down there," in reference to Morrisseau's reputation as the most influential native artist of his generation, as well as a troubled alcoholic. Sinclair and fellow painter Brian Marion vowed last night to honour Morrisseau by starting a native school of art in his memory. They hope to incorporate Morrisseau's native name, "Miskwaabik Animiki," which translates to Copper Thunderbird, into the school's name.

"From an artist's perspective, (his legacy) is just starting now," Sinclair said. "All of us will be long gone and what he did is just going to keep growing."

The traditional memorial featured native dance, singing, the smoking of a prayer pipe and managed, for the most part, to avoid the recent controversy over what should come of Morrisseau's remains. 

Christian Morrisseau, the artist's youngest son and one of his seven children, insists his father's remains should be brought back to a reserve near Thunder Bay where the artist's estranged wife is buried. Meanwhile the artist's brother wants his ashes to be spread over Lake Nipigon. What exactly his wishes were remain open to interpretations.

"Norval always knew that this was not his home and that he would go home sometime and now he's going home," said Harper.

Regardless of the controversy, Christian affirmed yesterday that his love for his father is "unconditional."

"I have to say although he really wasn't there for me as I grew up, I've learned who my father was through books, through my sister and through my mother as well," he said
The Toronto Star
Dec 09 2007

A Statement by Julie Gordon
at the Norval Morrisseau Memorial Gathering (Dec 8 2007)

I spoke to Norval's son. My name is Julie Gordon, daughter of Maui's Ehlect. She had her art in the same gallery as Norval, at Jack Pollock's gallery on Markham St. I always enjoyed Nprval's pictures and I believe he has helped me on my journey. I am happy to be here and I am honoured to have been able to share this message.
Peace from Julie

Saturday 26 February 2011

The Artistic Legacy of Norval Morrisseau In Action (2010)

Morrisseau Inspired Artists
Don Wright, Mark Anthony Jacobson, Brian Marion and Ritchie Sinclair
Winter Solstice Eclipse - December 21 2010

Monday 6 December 2010

Norval Morrisseau (1984) The Door to the Astral Plane is always wide open..."

Norval Morrisseau

"The Door to the Astral Plane is always wide open...

 if you know what to look for."


Tuesday 16 November 2010

Owls (timeless) Norval Morrisseau

Norval Morrisseau
Acrylic on paper, 32” x 20”

“What I teach the people many times is that attitude and attention will determine the whole course of our lives. Get rid of fear and that is all you ever have to get rid of. Fear of anything at all.”

Norval Morrisseau

This quote is vintage Norval Morrisseau. A teaching as deep as it gets. It is literally the crux that my life pivots on.

Norval asked me to ask myself two questions on a regular basis.

What is my attitude?
Where is my attention?... because wherever it is, that is where I'm at.

To this I added two other profound considerations passed on by another "life" mentor, the late Lila Cole, mother of my oldest friend, Garth Cole, who testified at trial on both my and Norval's behalf today.

Am I willing?
Am I able?

Four simplistic questions, until you see them in concert. Spirit ignites and it's magic.

Attitude becomes "altitude".
Attention becomes "intention".
Willing becomes able.... and magic happens.

Norval was a unique teacher. His lessons are unforgettable. They are experiential gifts that develop one's power to "rise" to the occasion. This teaching can be viewed visually as a formula...

So how did it go in Court today? It was magic. WAAA - with a little "Just Be" and a ton of "All is Well". Like a game of chess, court is all very easy at the beginning when both sides lose the odd pawn. It's tough later on in the heat of battle and it finally ends in checkmate on January 11 2011. Bet on Spirit. I am.

I don't know when Norval painted "Owls" but its timeless, isn't it? This is just one of dozens of owl paintings by Norval. What I love about them is how cute they all are. I published this one because I felt like that little owl in court today, keeping my eye on the ball.

The big owl with his wings around me? Why, that's all of you, and your great (spirit) attitude. Thanks folks! You really outdid yourselves. All day I was in a bubble of clarity, peace and something else really extraordinary. It was a wonderful day.

I woke up with the song, "We are the Champions" by Queen dancing in my head this morning. It was there throughout the day. It's still playing in my head in stereo even now. I wonder why?


Tuesday 9 November 2010

Ritchie Sinclair (2008 - 2010) A Protege of Norval Morrisseau - Signs Off

" My eyes are now wide open and I see an overwhelming ever-growing body of evidence that tells me that I absolutely must do what I can to stop this. What I see are dangerous, dark pieces of art, that I for one would not hang above my bed and expect a good night's sleep."

Ritchie Stardreamer Sinclair
October 20 2008

The defendant was referred to by counsel in their submissions both as Ritchie Sinclair and Stardreamer. The defendant describes himself as the "artistic apprentice" of Norval Morrisseau. Consistent with the allusion to which I have already referred, the defendant expresses a concern that: "Many of the works that are attributed to Norval Morrisseau however, are in fact counterfeit, and have been produced solely for the purposes of capitalizing off of Norval Morrisseau's fame and market value". It seems, from the record, that the defendant has made it his personal concern to identify, uncover, make known and even publicize works said to be those of Norval Morrisseau which he believes are false. In his affidavit, he says: I have no interest in identifying counterfeit Morrisseau paintings other than to perform a public service and to assist in protecting the legacy of one of Canada's foremost artists.

Lederer J.
Excerpt from the Judgment of December 8, 2008
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

From October 2008 through November 2010 I published sensitive information about the proliferation of inferior counterfeit Morrisseau art. With the assistance of many (from all sides) who supplied materials, including Norval Morrisseau himself by way of his explosive sworn declarations, we painted a picture.

I have an undeniable faith in "truth" rising to the top. While identifying pieces in the forgery puzzle hasn't solved the problem I take comfort in knowing that the Norval Morrisseau forgery issue is the subject of a comprehensive R.C.M.P. investigation. I expect the very best from them.

The moment has finally arrived to turn my part in this effort over to Spirit and the Canadian authorities and turn my attention toward preparations for a spring exhibition of new art by myself and fellow Morrisseau protege, Brian Marion, to be held at the Lane Gallery in Yorkville.

Images of counterfeit Morrisseau art archived on will remain public to guide educators and students. Particularized information identifying forgers, distributors, suppliers and purported sources of fake Morrisseau art will be deleted from my websites. I feel compelled from within to do so.

I have developed a deep appreciation for our little circle of integrity and intent. Our shared desire for authenticity has rippled out to an ethical universe. We can expect results my friends.

May the Blessings Be

Ritchie Sinclair
November 10, 2010